Who doesn’t love saving money? And in summer in Minnesota, when we are running the air conditioner more and using more water to maintain our gardens and green lawns, we can use all the help we can get to save some money on energy. Let’s look at some tips to get you started on a sizzling summer of energy savings.
Keep Things Cool
It may seem obvious, but if you want to stay nice and cool inside, don’t add any unnecessary heat to your home. Adding heat and humidity will make your AC work harder to remove it – and end up costing you. That means grilling dinner or having cold sandwiches instead of turning on the oven or boiling pasta. That means washing your dishes by hand or letting them air dry instead of turning up the heat to get clean plates. That means waiting to do your laundry during cooler times of the day or only washing with cold water instead of hot water.
Keith Hill, technical support manager from Minnesota Air, suggests limiting all tasks that could cause internal heat gains on hot days, especially those that mix heat and water, which could increase the humidity in your home.
“Turn off the lights, especially if they are incandescent, generating more heat than LEDs or CFLs,” says Keith. “Remember that anything that uses electricity probably gives off some heat. Televisions and computer monitors give off more heat than you realize, even a little bit when they are turned ‘off.’ Even modern LCD and LED TVs give off quite a bit of heat.”
Tune Up Your AC /Maintain Your AC
A little cleaning before you turn on your AC for the season and a check-up by a professional HVAC technician will ensure you have a system in top working order. We’ve got a checklist of items to do before you turn on your AC for the season here, but if you’ve already been enjoying the AC without cleaning it or getting a pro to take a look, there’s no time better than the present.
And of course, clean or replace your filters. It’s one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve efficiency.
Remember, a clean air conditioner is a happy, well-maintained air conditioner – and a happy air conditioner will make a homeowner more comfortable with less effort.
Made In The Shade
To stay cool when you’re outside, you may look for a spot in the shade while having a picnic or looking for a place to watch a baseball game. By that same logic, your home’s temperature also benefits from a place in the shade in the summer.
If you are looking to save energy, plant trees that shade your home and block your doors and windows from bringing in too much heat.
Keith says there are also some other smart shading options for windows.
“Awnings, pergolas, and exterior shutters” are all effective, he says. “Interior shading doesn’t help that much, because the internal shade warms up and convects the heat to indoors.”
Time To Upgrade
Finally, summer is the perfect time to make those energy-efficient improvements you’ve been putting off. It could save you a lot of money in the long run.
Keith says you can upgrade your windows to more energy efficient models that won’t let hot air in during the summer and cold air in during the winter. Adding insulation to the attic also prevents that transfer of heat from inside and outside.
If you’re re-roofing, Keith suggests using light-colored shingles to reflect the heat.
And if you think solar power will help you save energy over the long run, you are right. It’s getting more economical to install solar panels each year.
“Building a new home?” says Keith. “Most solar heat gain in Minnesota homes comes in through the east and west facing glass. In summer, the sun is higher in the sky, so south facing is not a large solar gain. Consider how you align your windows to the sun and possible shading options – trees are always nice.”
Looking for more tips to stay cool and save money? Check out these articles:
And remember, whenever you’re looking for advice on home heating, cooling, or energy savings, you can turn to the experts at StayComfyMinnesota.com for help.