07/182013

Does your House Get too Hot in the Summer? Here are Some Tips on How to Stay Cool and Save Money!

By: Taz Loomans

The summer in Phoenix is no laughing matter. Daily temperatures upwards of 115 can put a lot of strain on AC units and homeowners’ wallets. Below are some things you should look out for that indicate that your home is wasting energy. You’ll also find some tips on what you can do to keep your home cool and energy-efficient, and keep your utility bills low while you’re at it.

10 Signs your Home is Wasting Energy and Costing You More Money than it Should:

1. Your utility bills make you wince.

2. The temperatures are different in different rooms of your house.

3. Your interior doors shut when you AC starts up.

4. Your AC is too noisy.

5. Your AC is old and your appliances do not have an Energy Star rating.

6. Your interior walls feel warm and your exterior walls feel hot.

7. You can see light around your windows and exterior doors.

8. You feel severe heat or cold near your windows and doors.

9. You have dust around your vents, outlets, door frames and the floor around your entryway.

10. You have multiple ceiling fan lights.

3 Things you can Do to Save on Energy Bills that Won’t Cost you a Dime:

1. Recycle your old refrigerator or freezer instead of using it in the garage.

Turning off an old refrigerator or freezer can save about $100 a year – savings will vary depending on the type of refrigerator.

2. Reduce phantom loads and unplug your electronics and appliances when you can.

This refers to the electric power consumed by electronic and electrical appliances while they are switched off (but are designed to draw some power) or in a standby mode.

3. If you have a programmable thermostat, program it based on when you’re actually home.

Raising your set point by 1 degree in the summer saves 3%. The US Dept. of Energy states that programmable thermostats can save up to $150 a year on energy costs when used properly.

5 Things you can Do that Will Cost you a Little but Have a Big Bang for the Buck:

1. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs), which use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer.

2. Get a watt meter, which will cost around $20 to $35, and measure how much energy your common household devices use. This way you will know exactly how much energy your electronics and appliances are using.

3.  Install an energy dashboard. It costs about $150 to $300. Studies have repeatedly shown that homeowners do a better job of conserving energy when they get real-time energy-use feedback.

4. Plant some shade trees. This can save you up to $50 a year and give you all the other benefits of trees.

5. Upgrade your pool pump to more a more energy-efficient variable speed pool pump. You will save anywhere between $175 to $400 a year based on the size of your motor, your operating hours and the utility rate schedule.

[Source: The Energy Efficiency Flier created by the Building Science Training Center and ASU GIOS in addition to Arizona Energy Consortium and Green Living Magazine]

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