Summer’s officially started, and it’s only going to keep warming up over the next two months. But you don’t have to suffer through the high temps! We have a few home energy-saving tips for you – simple strategies you can do yourself today. Apply these tips and you’ll stay cool as a cucumber and keep the heat outside where it belongs. Plus, you can do it without breaking the bank!
Block the Heat from Entering
The goal in any season is to keep Mother Nature from sneaking into your home and to keep the indoor climate your furnace or A/C is providing from leaking outside. Begin by ensuring you install the right barriers between your interior and the elements.
Weatherproof Your Doors
Fortify your home against summer’s assault by preventing the heat from slipping in through your doors. In other words, weatherproof. Here are three options to seal those exterior doors.
Apply weatherstripping to your doors as your first line of defense against the rising mercury. It not only locks the heat out, weatherstripping seals the cool air generated by your air conditioner inside. Usually self-adhesive and easily applied, vinyl or rubber weatherstripping on door jambs is an inexpensive way to seal your doors when they’re closed. And don’t forget: weatherstripping works great on the tops and sides of doors, as well.
If your doors leak air along the bottom, consider adding a door sweep to protect against floor-level drafts. Composed of rubber, silicone, or bristles, these strips placed along the bottom of the door creates prevent air from moving in and out of your home and allow you to open and close the door with ease.
For doors that leak more air than a door sweep can block, toss a moveable draft guard at the base of the door when you come home. Alternatively, slide one that moves with the door as it swings open and closed under your exterior doors. For a DIY solution, slice a section of pipe insulation lengthwise and wrap it around the bottom of your door.
Weatherproof Your Windows
As your windows age, they tend to develop cracks around the areas where the windows and walls meet. If you live in an older home, add spray foam or caulking around the windows to keep the hot air at bay and prevent your cold air from leaking out.
Applying clear insulating film to your windows is another option to consider. Although it’s more commonly used for insulating against Old Man Winter, it also works well to keep your house comfortable in the summer. However, the insulating film prevents you from easily opening the windows. Then again, the sweltering heat is going to stop you from wanting to open the windows, anyway, right?
Minimize and Reflect Sunlight
We all want a little sunshine coming into our homes! But the direct sunlight that streams in through south- and west-facing windows during the hottest part of the day can really heat up your home. In fact, about 30% of unwanted heat comes in the form of sunlight through the windows!
Place curtains, blinds, or reflective window panels on those windows to save as much as 7% on your cooling budget. Choosing insulated curtains not only blocks the hot summer sun, but insulates against cold in the winter, helping you save money year-round. During the sunniest parts of the long summer days, close or partially close the curtains or blinds to keep the heat at bay.
Change Your Cooking Habits
If you’ve ever cranked up your oven in an already warm house, we know you know this one! Turning your oven on in the summer can make your kitchen virtually unbearable, and it will heat up adjacent rooms in your home. One alternative is to prep dinner on the stovetop, which will still warm up your kitchen but by far less. If you really want to cook something in the oven, plan to do it during the coolest part of the day.
But we think the best alternative is to fire up that grill! Nothing really says “summertime” like a good old cookout, anyway.
Get an Assist from a Pro
Although there are measures you can take on your own to increase the energy efficiency of your home, checking with a professional can make a huge difference. Each home is different, and a heating and cooling professional can help you with your home’s and your family’s specific needs.
Schedule a Home Energy Audit
Request a home energy audit from your local utility company to discover additional and unexpected ways to save energy – while keeping cool.
The inspector will come to your home and check the most common areas where energy is lost and help you come up with strategies to stop it from happening. Homeowners can save 5-30% on their energy costs* by heeding the advice of a home energy audit professional!
Book a System Check-Up
Find your local Lennox Dealer to book a summer tune-up. The heating and cooling professional cleans both the indoor and outdoor coils, checks the air filtration system and refrigerant levels, plus a few more things that maintain the efficiency of your air conditioner. An air-conditioning system check-up goes a long way towards keeping you comfortable and energy efficient.
Consider a New Air-Conditioning System.
If your air conditioner is over 15 years old, no amount of insultation, weatherproofing, and preparation is going to make much of an impact. Older systems tend to be inefficient, which drives up your electric bill each month because the unit has to work so hard to keep you cool. If you decide to upgrade this year, you’ll be surprised when you see just how much money newer technology can save you, even – or especially! – on the hottest days of the year.
See the Savings for Yourself
Heating and cooling are typically a homeowner’s largest energy expense, accounting for up to half of the utility budget. Therefore, you’d be wise to have the most efficient heating and cooling systems as possible. Visit the Lennox Energy Savings Calculator to see for yourself how a new system will provide you with an amazingly comfortable indoor environment that also saves you money every month!