Summer is usually a time for travel, family vacations, cookouts, and music festivals. COVID-19 has radically changed these honored traditions as we can no longer gather in large numbers and are required to appropriately social distance. This results in us having to spend more time indoors and trying to maintain a comfortable environment. This is a challenge given that our region has had a string of high 90+ degree days and we haven’t hit August yet. Attempting to stay cool and comfortable by constantly running your air conditioner can take a toll on your system and budget.
To help you lower your energy usage and ultimately save money during this COVID-19 summer, consider implementing one or more of the following tips:
- Raise your thermostat’s temperature – The key job of your air conditioner is to control the indoor humidity of your home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a setting of 78°F (26°C) is best while at home. This setting will limit your home’s humidity to 50% or less while keeping you comfortable and using less energy. They also recommend raising the temperature seven to ten degrees when you are away from home for a long period.
- Minimize the use of heat-producing appliances – Avoid using your stove or oven during the hottest times of the day. Instead, turn up the grill and cook outside. This will help reduce the load on your air conditioner to decrease your home’s humidity.
- Reduce water heater temperature – Did you know that water heaters can account for up to 18% of total home energy use? People often have their water heaters turned up too high due to the default setting of 140 degrees. Turn it down to 120 degrees to save energy and prevent scalding. Besides, do you really want a steaming hot shower during the hottest days of the year?
- Close the shades and install ceiling fans – Close your window blinds, shades, and curtains to prevent the sun’s shining rays from penetrating your window and producing additional heat. Also, consider installing ceiling fans. They not only look great but according to the U.S. Department of Energy, they cost 5 cents less per hour to operate and can reduce your room temperature by 4 degrees. Both tactics will help your air conditioner to work less to cool your home and save energy.
- Opt for a fixed-price plan – If you live in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware or Ohio, you have the option of choosing your electricity supplier. This is a great benefit since with a supplier you can choose your pricing plan and lock in on a low fixed price. This will help you avoid seasonal spikes and grant peace of mind knowing that you won’t get that dreaded summer surprise bill.
So, there you have it, five tips that will help you save energy and, in turn, save money during this COVID-19 summer.