Here are nine hacks to save energy this summer.
1. Raise the temperature on your air conditioner/heat pump
A cold blast from the AC might feel good on a hot day, but the lower your indoor temperature the higher your energy bill.
If you want to save on your power bill, the Fan Only mode might be the way to go. This setting creates a breeze using less electricity than the full cooling mode – however, it will work at its best if you open a window or two, which means you may need to swat a few bugs.
Set the temperature to around 21 – 22˚C. The room won’t cool any more quickly if you set it to a lower temperature. On the other hand, you can virtually guarantee that you’ll use more electricity and pay higher power bills by overcooling! The smaller the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your cooling bills will be. When you leave the house, set the temperature higher (25 – 26˚C) or turn the air conditioner off altogether.
On a sweltering, humid day with no hint of a breeze, the discomfort you're experiencing is more due to the high humidity than the heat itself. If your heat pump offers a Dehumidification mode, it's worth giving it a shot. Just like the fan setting, the Dehumidification mode consumes less electricity compared to your heat pump's full cooling mode. Nonetheless, unlike the fan setting, it's advisable to keep doors and windows closed using the Dehumidification mode.
On really hot days when the Fan Only and Dehumidifying modes just don’t work, then it is time to resort to Cooling mode. When using this mode, ensure you shut all doors and windows in the room that you are trying to cool. Set the temperature to around 21 – 22˚C because the room won’t cool any more quickly if you set it to a lower temperature.
Finally, there’s the Auto mode where the heat pump tries to maintain your set temperature by constantly changing between heating and cooling as the room temperature fluctuates. Setting and forgetting might be convenient but it uses a lot more electricity, which will show up on your bill.
2. Use fans to cool your house
Using a ceiling fan while a room is in use will allow you to raise your thermostat temperature four degrees. Make sure your ceiling fan’s blades rotate counterclockwise. This will push cool air down, where you need it.
If you don’t have ceiling fans, portable fans work just as well—they’re inexpensive and readily available. When you leave a room, turn off all fans to reduce energy.
3. Clean your air filters
When it comes to keeping cool by using a heat pump, you may have more options than you think. But whatever setting you choose, your heat pump will be even more effective if you have it serviced before summer’s in full swing.
Dirty air filters can overwork your cooling system, causing your HVAC to use more energy. Not to mention, dirty air filters can circulate allergens and dust throughout your home, lowering indoor air quality. It’s recommended that you change your air filter at least every three months, so the beginning of summer is the perfect time to do this.
Check all the filters and vents are clear of dust and plants inside and outside your house, vacuum the dust and lint from the grills and filters of units inside and prune any shrubs that may be obstructing vents outside.
4. Heat food in your microwave
Using your oven and stove can raise your kitchen’s temperature by 10 degrees. By heating food in your microwave, you’ll lower the risk of overheating your kitchen and save energy in the process; microwaves use one-third the energy of an oven and produce less heat than other kitchen appliances.
5. Pull the curtains
Sun coming through your windows can heat up your home and cause energy bills to rise. Draw curtains and blinds during the hottest parts of the day (between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.), especially if your windows are facing north. It will keep the house cooler and give your AC a break.
6. Skip the clothes dryer altogether
Come on it’s summer — hang your washing on the clothesline. You’ll save energy and avoid raising the temperature of your home with heat-generating appliances. Also, line-dried clothes smell like heaven.
If you must use your dryer, check the vent at the back. This builds up with lint over time which causes your dryer to work longer and harder to dry the clothes, which increases your energy bill. Cleaning out this dryer duct at least once a year—summer is the perfect time to perform this task.
7. Switch to LED bulbs
Incandescent bulbs can turn 90% of the energy they use into heat, making rooms in your home considerably warmer. LED bulbs operate at a lower wattage and produce half as much heat. They also use 75% less energy and last 50 times longer than traditional bulbs, saving you money on energy costs.
8. Seal cracks and openings
To prevent warm air from leaking into your home, inspect your windows and doors for small openings and seal them with caulk or weatherstripping.
9. Turn down your water heater temperature
Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (60ºC) to save energy.