The largest portion of our home energy bills are for controlling the temperature in our houses – keeping them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
We’ve experienced 8 of the warmest years on record in the last decade.
This summer, the extended period of record setting temperatures across much of the US and central Canada, has some experts suggesting that this could be the new normal.
“According to our projections, large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years.”
So what can you do about it?
There are a several no-cost or low-cost ways that you can make your home more comfortable during extreme warm weather and reduce your cooling bills by up to 50%.
Most of these are simple, common sense solutions that we should all make part of our everyday routines.
3 Simple Energy Savers
1. Set the Thermostat Higher
If you have a central air conditioning unit, set the thermostat above 78F (25.5C). You’ll save 5 – 8% for each degree above this mark. Setting the thermostat to 85F (29C) can save up to 55%. When its 100F (38C) outside, even 85F will feel much more comfortable and will reduce stress on the electrical grid.
If you leave the house for a few hours, set the thermostat up to 90. It will only take 15 minutes to bring the temperature back down, using less energy than maintaining it at the lower level while you’re away.
2. Use a Fan
A fan can reduce the room temperature by 4 to 6 degrees and only costs about 2 to 5 cents per hour to operate. Fans also work well with a dehumidifier. The dryer air feels cooler as the fan moves it around.
Even with air conditioning, fans will help move the air around and reduce the amount of time you need to run the air conditioner.
3. Use Passive Cooling Techniques
It’s simple. Close the windows and draw the curtains first thing in the morning before the temperature starts to rise. This keeps the heat out and minimizes the passive solar gain from the sun .
Once it starts to cool down in the evening, open the windows and turn on a couple of portable fans or your whole house fan, to bring the the cooler air in.
This is easy to do and makes a huge difference, especially if you don’t have air conditioning. It sure works in our 100-year-old farm house.
Green Home Guide
To learn more about these and other tips for saving energy and making your home more comfortable, check out The US Green Building Council’s Green Home Guide article – 10 Ways to Beat the Heat.