Summer has officially arrived and with the warmer weather comes the potential for increased energy costs. Now is a great time to learn about what you can do to stay cool, save energy and help protect the environment.
Top ways to save energy
We recommend you start with the easiest, lowest-cost, highest-value options at the top of this list. Then, as your budget, schedule, and inclinations allow, you can move down the list to more involved energy-saving options requiring a higher investment.
- Keep your home cool without cranking up the A/C by opening windows and doors in the evening and early morning when it’s cooler outside. Opening a window high on the warm side of the house and a lower window on the cool side creates cross ventilation to keep your home cool and breezy.
- Clothes dryers waste a lot of energy and there are currently no energy-efficient models on the market. A clothes line and the sun’s warming rays will do the job without shrinking or wearing out your clothes. That summer fresh scent on your towels and linens is another added bonus.
- Refrigerators are already one of the biggest energy-wasting appliances in a home so standing in front of one to cool yourself, in addition to warming your milk and eggs, isn’t the best idea. Leaving the door open for a long time means additional energy will be required to re-cool your food later.
- A hot dishwasher or preheating oven sends heat throughout your home. On hot days stick to outdoor BBQs or nice summer salads and run only full loads of dishes with the “no heat” option selected for your drying cycle.
- Incandescent light bulbs get warm and can generate enough heat to raise the temperature of a room. Replace them with ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs and fixtures – they use up to 75 percent less energy and can last up to 10 times longer. PSE offers instant discounts at participating retailers and showrooms.
- The kind of plants you choose and where you place them in your yard can have a dramatic effect on how cool your home stays in the summer. Plant leafy trees in front of western facing windows and siding to shade your home on hot summer days.
- Install a programmable thermostat for home heating. It can save lots of energy while you’re sleeping or away from home – and will re-warm your house shortly before you wake up or return home.
- Seal up air leaks around doors and windows with weather-stripping, caulking, and door sweeps to keep cold air in so you can enjoy it longer. We recommend a home energy audit to uncover the hidden air leaks in your home and duct work.
- Have your cooling system inspected and tuned every two to three years by a professional and clean or replace the air filters regularly.
- If you’re shopping for a new air conditioner, look for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) or the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) on the Energy Guide label and select the highest number rating you can afford (the higher the number, the more efficient the unit). PSE and ENERGY STAR recommend a SEER of 14 or higher. Schedule a free estimate to make sure the equipment is sized correctly for your space.