10 Ways to Save Energy in the Summer

Top energy-saving tips to get your house ready for the summer

As summer approaches and temperatures begin to rise, it’s a good idea to take a look in and around your home to make sure you are doing what you can to save energy and, in turn, save money. Here are some easy ways to save energy and get your home ready for the summer.

Make sure the house is sealed and insulated.

smiling family outside house
Get your home ready for the summer with these tips to save energy. Joshua Hodge Photography/Getty Images

Replace old windows that are in poor shape with Energy Star double-paned windows, suggests Amanda Lowenberger, researcher at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a non-profit organization that works for energy-efficiency. And don’t forget to check your insulation. "A lot of people think of heating when they think of insulation, but it’s equally useful for keeping the air cooled inside a home," says Lowenberger.

Replace old air conditioners.

If your air conditioner is an ancient energy-hogging dinosaur, consider replacing it with a new, more energy-efficient model. The ACEEE recommends looking for an air conditioner with a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 15 or higher. "That number tells you how much cooling you're getting for how much energy you're using," says Lowenberger.

Replace air filters.

Dirty air conditioner filters can interfere with airflow and cause your air conditioning system to run longer. To save energy, replace air filters every one to three months.

Change your light bulbs.

Switch from incandescent bulbs to CFL, or compact fluorescent light bulbs. "Traditional incandescent bulbs give off a lot of heat," says Lowenberger.

Run appliances at night.

Try to run appliances that give off heat -- such as your dishwasher and dryer -- at night when it’s cooler, says Lowenberger. That way, your air conditioning doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a cool temperature. And switch off the drying feature in your dishwasher and let dishes air dry to save energy.

Keep windows shaded during the day.

All that strong solar energy can warm up a room significantly, which can be great for winter but less desirable in the hot summer months. If you love having light, consider window treatments that allow some light to come through while filtering out much of the glare.

Set your thermostat higher.

If you’re comfortable at, say, 75 degrees, then put your thermostat on 78 degrees or so and run a ceiling or floor fan, suggests Lowenberger. That way, you can feel cooler while using less energy.

Shade your compressor.

Boost the energy efficiency of your air conditioner by shading your compressor. You can do this by planting a bush or putting up a fence or a little roof to get your compressor out of direct sunlight.

Plant some trees.

You can help cool your house by planting some trees to get some shade.

Consider cool roofs.

If your roof needs replacing, consider going with cool roofing. If you live in an apartment building, talk to your building manager about installing a green roof, which can help insulate buildings, reduce carbon dioxide, and even minimize water runoff from storms.

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