Seasonal Tips For Your Home
Energize Delaware and the Summer of Savings
With the temperatures warming up outside, Delawareans are reminded of summer – vacations, longer days and those hot days spent trying to stay cool! But keeping comfortable comes with a price. Energize Delaware and our red knot mascot "SEU" are here to help you with a variety of energy solutions for the summer season that can keep your consumption down, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fuels burned to produce electricity, and put more “green” back in your wallet.
How: Each month, check and change your filters in your heating/cooling system.
Why: Dirty air filters restrict airflow and can make your entire cooling system up to 15 percent less efficient. Air filters are well worth the expense, especially if you or your other members of your family suffer from airborne allergies. Dirt and neglect are the primary causes of system failure. Consider scheduling an annual, pre-season maintenance checkup with a licensed contractor to ensure your cooling system is operating efficiently and safely. Taking preventive steps and making minor repairs can extend the life of your system, and save you money!
How: Check your room air conditioner or central air system now, before that first 95 degree day!
Why: Replacing a 10-year-old central AC unit with an ENERGY STAR qualified model can cut 20-40 percent off your cooling costs.
Another option to consider is a geothermal heating and cooling system, which utilizes pipes running from the more stable, ambient temperatures found five feet underground into your home, where they pump heat in or out, depending on the season.
How: We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again… programmable thermostats equal savings!,
Why: The advantage of a programmable thermostat is that you can program it to have your AC unit turned to a higher temperature when you are not home and then have it return to your desired temperature shortly before your arrival. Keep this in mind: setting your AC to the “off” setting when you are not home could end up using more power getting your home back to your desired temperature. A programmable thermostat, set and used properly, can save about $100 in energy costs each year.
How: Clockwise or counterclockwise? There is often confusion about which way to run your fans in the summertime. The bottom line: test it and see which way makes you feel cooler. It’s the best way to get the results you want.
Some fans come with a forward and a reverse setting. On "forward", the fan blows the air down. Standing under the fan, you feel a breeze. On "reverse", the fan blows the air up.
During the summer, turn it to "forward" to create a wind-chill effect as the air moves against your skin and cools you.
Warm air collects near the ceiling. During the winter, the "reverse" setting circulates the warm air down where you are.
Remember to adjust your thermostat when using your ceiling fan — additional energy and dollar savings could be realized with this simple step!
You can find out more about energy efficient ceiling fans at the ENERGY STAR website.
Why: Stagnant air is much less comfortable than feeling the cool breeze of a fan. By running your fans this way, you’ll circulate the air, feel cooler and be able to set your AC a few degrees higher. But turn the fan off when leaving the room. A ceiling fan only cools people. Ceiling fan/light combination units that have earned the ENERGY STAR rating are about 50 percent more efficient than conventional fan/light units. This can save you more than $15 per year on utility bills.
How: When direct sunlight is coming through your windows, draw the curtains or shades.
Why: You will keep the cool air in and the hot sunlight out. Another way to reduce cooling costs in the long run is to plant trees or shrubs so that your house is more shaded, especially on the sunnier side.
How: Cracks in your home can keep your AC running overtime in the summertime, draining your wallet and hurting the environment. Consider hiring a contractor to inspect your house for cracks and crevices, particularly the ones you may not be able to see with the naked eye.
If you’d rather do it yourself, you can feel around baseboards, windows, doors, light switches and electrical sockets for air leaks. Air can escape or enter anywhere that two different building materials meet. You can also walk around your house with incense to see if the smoke blows in when you pass windows or doorways. Leaks can be sealed with foam or caulking, which you can find at the hardware store. By upgrading your insulation you may also eligible for federal tax credits.
Why: If you added up all of the costs associated with leaks and cracks in your home, it would be like keeping a window open 24 hours a day all year long. Properly sealing and insulating your house can save up to 20 percent on your heating and cooling costs!
How: Avoid running your appliances during peak hours—4-6 p.m.—or anytime an electricity emergency is declared. You can do your laundry efficiently and effectively by using the warm or cold water setting for washing your clothes. Always use cold water to rinse clothes. In the kitchen, conserve energy by running your dishwasher only when it’s fully loaded, and turn off the dry cycle – try air-drying your dishes instead.
Why: You can see significant savings on your utility bill by getting smarter about how and when you use your appliances. For example, drying clothes outside on a clothesline can cut costs by up to five percent. Activating the moisture-sensing setting when you do use the dryer can help conserve more.