Springtime in the south often incites a competition between the heating and air conditioning, which are both sometimes run in the same week. As the weather gets warmer, energy use rises even more. Use these tips to minimize your energy usage for spring and summer, and save yourself some energy dollars as well.
• Give your electrical meter a holiday to save energy and money if you are away for more than two days. Turn off your electric water heater at the electrical panel. Lower the thermostats on your air conditioner and refrigerator.
• Try to maintain a water temperature of 26 degrees C (78 degrees F) or lower in your swimming pool. If you only use the pool on weekends, the temperature can be reduced by 8-10 degrees during the week.
• A constantly running pool pump is expensive. One complete water filtering every 24 hours is fine for a residential pool.
• The most obvious way to stay cool in the warmer months is to close the curtains and windows during the day.
• During summer nights, open the windows and enjoy the comfort of cool evening air. This also improves air quality and removes humidity.
• Landscaping can also be an effective way of keeping sun from the windows and provide shade for your house.
• Try to avoid heating your home inadvertently with appliances. Consider using an outdoor grill and a clothesline, or add more cold foods and salads to your diet.
• Consider attic ventilation. This could improve your home’s comfort year-round. You could also save on energy costs because your air conditioner is not running to fight a hot attic.
• Exhaust fans and dehumidifiers will reduce the effects of humidity. Turn on the bathroom exhaust after bathing or open the window. When cooking on the stove, use a vent fan to exhaust heated air.
• Central air conditioning is more efficient than several window units. Although the initial cost may be higher, you could save on your monthly electric bill.
• Try to install your air conditioner in a shaded area. An air conditioner that is exposed to direct sunlight will consume 5% more energy than one that is shaded.
• Do not obstruct air movement.
• Even with air conditioning, fans will make you feel cooler and reduce the amount of time you need to run your air conditioner. Ceiling fans are increasing in popularity.
• Make sure the coils on your air conditioner are straight and kept clean. If they are clogged or dirty, you can clean them with a vacuum cleaner.
• Periodically check that the filter in your air conditioner is clean. Disposable filters should be replaced every one or two months.
• Use a programmable thermostat for central air conditioners. There is no need to cool the house when no one is home.
If you are using a central air conditioner, make sure you are cooling only the rooms that you are using. Close the vents in the rooms not being used.