During summer we all want to be enjoying this beautiful Wisconsin weather, and spending our money on fun activities—not on our energy bills. So where do you start cutting your energy bills this summer? The first step is diagnosing how energy efficient your home is, so you can put your money into the most effective, and necessary, repairs, replacements, and additions that can make a dent in your energy bills:
1.Use a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to raise the temperature when you are away and gives you a cool home when you are actually in it. In addition to having a cool home to come home to, this simple change can lower your bills by more than 5% annually.
2.Replace your old rickety, inefficient AC. If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, a new, high efficiency AC unit can be the answer to cutting your cooling costs. Today’s high efficient AC units are quieter, use less energy and run more efficiently than older air conditioners. When replacing your old, inefficient AC unit, do your homework and ask the experts to recommend the best high-efficiency air conditioner for your home or space.
3.Add insulation to your attic. Do you have enough insulation in your attic? If not, climb into your attic yourself, or hire a contractor to add insulation where your home needs it most. With an estimated 35 percent of energy loss occurring through your home’s roof, an extra layer of insulation in your attic is the key to keeping the summer heat out and cool air in.
4.Seal the cracks. Inspect around your windows and doors for noticeable cracks. Fill in the cracks with caulk. Make sure that the wood around your windows is not rotting, and that your windows are not showing signs of replacement.
5.Replace old, drafty windows. Drafty windows are inefficient and expensive, costing you additional money for heating and cooling your home. Sometimes, old, drafty windows are obvious, such as when the seal breaks and the inside of the windows are covered in mold, but often the signs are not quite as noticeable. A simple way to test for draftiness is to hold a flame in front of the window. If the flame flickers, it’s time to replace that window. Contact a contractor for a free quote.
6.Get rid of an inefficient exterior door. If you can see light around your exterior door, or can see cracks around the frame, it’s time to replace that old door. Be selective about your new door. Ask a contractor what door they would recommend for energy efficiency, and for a quote for installation.
7.Do annual maintenance to your air conditioner to keep it running in peak efficient condition. Air conditioners need annual maintenance to run efficiently, such as cleaning and removing debris and refilling coolant if needed. A clogged or poorly maintained air conditioner uses more energy simply because it needs to work harder to cool your home.
8.Use your ceiling fans. Your ceiling fans should be set to the counter clockwise direction during summer. Why does the direction of your fan matter? A ceiling fan going in the counter clockwise direction during summer circulates the cool air throughout your home and directs the cool air down on you.
9.Raise the temperature on your thermostat. Upping the temperature in your home—even just when you are away—can lower your energy bills every month, saving you money throughout the year and in the long run.
10.Change your furnace filter. This is a mantra you should live by all year long, even during summer. A dirty furnace filter can clog up the system, keeping your system from efficiently circulating cool air in the summer and warm air during the winter.