For many of us, summer means sunny days and warm nights. But with warmer weather, summer can also signify higher energy bills if you’re using more electricity to keep cool. We’ve rounded up a few simple yet effective tips on how to shave your energy spending. Keep these in mind through the summer months and your wallet will thank you!
1. Block the sun from your home
Insulation is one of the most effective ways to improve your home’s efficiency. According to a study by City University of Hong Kong from 2000 (1), as much as 45% of the heat in a home is from sunlight coming in the windows. Curtains and blinds are an easy and cost-effective way to block heat out of your home so that whether you’re inside or away for the day, you can keep your interior spaces cool and lighten the load on your AC. If you want to take insulation to the next level, installing insulated windows will seal your home from heat and sunlight in summer months while keeping it warm in colder weather during winter months. It’s also a good idea to make sure that all the vents, pipes and connections in your home are well-insulated so you’re cooling your home effectively. Consult an HVAC professional if you’re unfamiliar with how to do this.
2. Give your air conditioner a break!
We’re all about smart AC – even if it means not using your AC! Get the most out of Mother Nature and cool your home naturally. Place screens over your windows so you can open a window when it’s cool enough to let outside air in. This will allow fresh air into your home and aid with natural air flow. Plants also naturally allow more evaporation and cooling into the home too. Place houseplants in front of sunny windows and they will effectively absorb the sun’s energy which will increase the efficiency of your ACs and fans. But watch out for rising humidity! If you live in humid climates, your window screens won’t be able to block out moisture in the air.
3. A fan can go a long way
A simple floor, box or ceiling fan can be very effective in creating large air flow. We like them because they use very little energy but help a great deal with air circulation and pushing warm air out of the room. With the aid of a fan you can raise your AC temperature by a few degrees and re-distribute cool air throughout your home. A 2002 study by TEPCO (2), a Japanese utility, found that consumers could save up to 22% of their AC electricity consumption by using a fan together with their AC. There are a few ways to do this:
- Push out hot air: Point your fan towards an open window. Use the negative pressure to get rid of hot air indoor and bring in fresh air from outdoor.
- Use a fan with your AC: Air conditioners tend to generate cold air that stays near the ground, leading to energy waste and uneven air distribution. If you place your fan along the same side as the air conditioner, but facing diagonally into the room, you can help the air conditioner to spread cool air around the room, and also effectively raise energy efficiency.
- Use a fan at night: Set a fan parallel to your bed before you go to sleep. Let the air flow under the bed to the ceiling. This will create a cooling effect and avoid the air from blowing directly at your body.
4. Be good to your AC and clean your AC filter
If you haven’t had your air conditioner serviced in a few months (or years!), it’s probably time to take a look under the hood. Even if your AC appears to be running smoothly, it’s important to remember that your trusty air conditioner may need a professional clean to run as efficiently as possible. The difference between a dirty filter and a clean one can be up to ~5% so make sure to not skip on regular maintenance checks! Again, if you’re unsure how to do this, consult an HVAC professional to help you.
5. Get a grip on the humidity
If summer weather for you means feeling sticky and sweaty, try using a dehumidifier instead of an AC. Dehumidifiers and air conditioners are actually functionally the same but dehumidifiers do not refrigerate air and they do not push the hot air they produce outside. Nonetheless, a dehumidifier is an excellent tool for combating a moist room. They are designed to pull water from the air, and by extracting the moisture from the room, will help you to feel cool and dry. To get the most out of your dehumidifier, place it in the middle of the room and close the doors to increase efficiency. One thing to keep in mind is that since dehumidifiers are meant to dry out the room, you may not want to leave it on throughout the night to avoid drying out your hair and skin.
6. Automate your AC
Of course, our favorite tip is using Ambi Climate to smartly adjust your AC. Unlike your AC remote, Ambi Climate gives you greater control and flexibility over your air conditioning. For instance, if you find yourself keeping the AC on throughout the night, you could set a timer in the app so that your AC turns up the temperature 2 hours before you wake. Or maybe you keep your AC at the same temperature all year. Consider having Ambi Climate help you manage indoor temperatures based on your preferences, time of day and outdoor weather so you aren’t wasting energy overcooling the room. Ambi Climate learns what you like and takes care of the rest. You can also setup daily schedules and timers to pre-cool your home before you arrive or turn on just before you wake up to ensure you don’t find yourself freezing in the middle of the night.With these easy tips, saving energy this summer shouldn’t be hard! What are your favorite ways to reduce summer energy usage?Sources:(1) 2000, City University, Joseph Lam. “Residential sector air conditioning loads and electricity use in Hong Kong”(2) 2002, TEPCO, “エアコンを省エネに使うポイント”