Energy Saving Tips for SummerAlong with sunshine and clear skies, summer often brings higher energy costs. While cooling your home can be expensive, following these energy saving tips for summer will help reduce your air conditioning costs while maintaining a comfortable, indoor environment.

Replace Your AC Filter

A central air conditioner works by cycling the air inside your home. In the process, it picks up a lot of stray particles, such as dust and dander. Filters keep this debris from being blown back out through your ventilation system. However, over time, this dirt gradually clogs your filters, restricting air flow and forcing your AC to run longer in order to lower temperatures. For optimal efficiency, check your filter every three months. If it’s dirty, buy a replacement at your local hardware store. Most filters last half a year, but homeowners in dusty climates may have to change theirs more often.

Check For Air Leaks

Cracks around doors and windows are one of the leading causes of energy loss. Because warm air naturally displaces cool air, any gap in your home is going to make it harder for your cooling system to maintain a consistent temperature. Most cracks are easy to spot. They appear as lines around the frame. You’ll probably also notice the draft they create.

Lighting a stick of incense and watching which way the smoke moves will also indicate whether there’s a problem. A temperature gauge is a more sophisticated solution, which will help monitor temperatures around your home. Air leaks can normally be sealed with a thin layer of caulk. If you notice air escaping underneath a door, you’ll need to apply some weatherstripping, available at most hardware stores.

Close Blinds and Shades

Covering your windows blocks heat from the sun, reducing the strain on your air conditioner. Hot spots near windows disrupt indoor temperatures, forcing your air conditioner to cycle more often. While shaded windows are generally fine, closing blinds and shades on the side of your home facing the sun allows you to control temperatures without over-reliance on your cooling system.

Limit Use of Appliances

Stoves, ovens, dryers, dishwashers, and washing machines generate heat, so avoid using them as much as possible during the day. To spare your air conditioning, fire up the grill or set up an outdoor cooking station with a slow cooker or air fryer. You can also wash clothes early in the morning and dry them outside in the sun.

Raise the Temperature on Your AC

Lowering the temperature setting on your air conditioner means it has to cycle more. Instead, raise the temperature to the point you’re still comfortable walking around in seasonal clothing. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a higher temperature slows the flow of heat into your home, easing the demand on your air conditioning. They recommend 78°F as the ideal setting, but the ideal temperature will vary according to the preference of each homeowner. Seniors and young children are more sensitive to heat, so may be more comfortable at a lower setting.

People in extreme climates, where outdoor temperatures can reach over 100°F, should never set their thermostat more than 20°F below the temperature outside. A central air conditioner isn’t powerful enough to overcome that sort of heat and you’ll only waste energy trying to cool your home any further. Supplement your air conditioning with ceiling and table fans instead. Circulating air will help keep you cool even when the thermostat’s turned up.

Open Windows at Night

Throwing open your windows helps dispel the heat built up in your home. To accelerate the process, open windows on opposite sides of the house to create a cross breeze. It’s normally okay to leave them open during the early morning as well. Just remember to close and cover them before the hottest part of the day (10 a.m. ‒ 4 p.m.).

Switch Incandescent Bulbs for LEDs

LEDs consume only a fraction of the electricity as incandescents and emit only a small amount of heat. Though individually, each bulb doesn’t contribute much to your home’s overall energy profile, together they can make a noticeable difference.

Buy a Smart Thermostat

Installing a smart thermostat allows you to create a cooling schedule, ensuring your air conditioner doesn’t run while you’re out of the house. You can program it to activate automatically when you wake up and shut down when your family leaves for work and school. The newest models can even communicate with your smartphone, giving you total control over your climate system 24 hours a day.

Saving Energy This Summer

Small actions can have large impacts. By following these simple energy saving tips for summer, you can help keep electricity costs under control while keeping your indoor environment cool and pleasant.