Summer is coming and the temperature is rising! How can you stay cool without burning the budget on the A.C.? Read on with our 7 tips to keep cool without breaking the bank this Summer.
Some tips are surprisingly simple, using passive laws of nature to your advantage!
Energy Saving Tip 1:
Check your air conditioner’s filters
An air conditioner pulls in surrounding air, cooling it down, then releasing it back into the house. The process is simple and effective as you can likely attest to on a hot summer day.
However, the air that is first sucked in for cooling must pass through an air filter.
Just like trying to breathe through a mask is noticeably more difficult, an air filter that isn’t clean or has become blocked must work harder to accomplish the same task.
What does this mean? It means your A.C. is working harder than it needs to when the air filters are dirty. This wastes energy and means you’ve got to cough up more money for your power bills!
Studies have shown that by replacing your filter or even simply giving it a gentle clean, you can save energy – even up to 15%. A considerable amount during our dry Australian summers.
Many houses have ducted air conditioning where cold air comes out of vents. Gently vacuuming and wiping vents around your home will also help keeping air flowing freely. Cleaning air vents is an understandably forgettable process, but if you’re already cleaning your air conditioner filters, you might as well be thorough.
Energy Saving Tip 2:
Use your A.C. wisely
Continuing along the lines of air conditioners, much of your energy saving can be made simply by controlling when and where to use it.
For example, do you find yourself leaving the A.C. on then going to work during the day? Or do you sometimes leave the windows and doors open whilst the A.C. chugs along?
Shut the front door!
Small habits like these decrease the efficiency of your power usage, working against your energy-saving goals. It’s best to keep windows and doors closed when the A.C. is running.
Timing is everything…
If, for example, the family gets home at 5:00, have the A.C. turn on only half an hour or so beforehand rather than running it all day. Additionally, remember to use that timer to turn the machine off as you sleep or when the room is cool enough.
… well, and location!
Only run air conditioners where you plan to hang out. For example, during the night, only run the A.C. in occupied bedrooms.
Smart homes can control where air flow is diverted. Contact Sarros Electrical if you need your home set up with smart home capabilities.
Additionally, research has shown that simply setting the A.C. a mere 1° degree higher can save up to 10% on A.C. running costs! A modest difference of 1° is not noticeable to most people, and really only necessary on a scorching hot day, but 10% on an energy bill? Everyone notices that!
Energy Saving Tip 3:
DIY ways to insulate your home
Looking to decorate your home? – Think blinds and drapes.
Looking to cool your home? – Also think blinds and drapes!
Granted we sometimes consider window coverings to be only a visual addition, they provide a fantastic, semi-permanent way of limiting unnecessary heat gain in a house
Energy Australia states that good quality window coverings, especially those with light-colored backings, can decrease heat transfer from outside by almost half. An excellent method to save electricity.
Your air conditioner will thank you!
Just be sure to keep them closed when it’s hot.
At Sarros, we also recommend draught-proofing any doors and windows to stop cool air escaping and hot air entering. After all, since you’re paying to keep the air cool, there’s no point letting it just run out the door!
Rubber seals for windows and doors are easily sourced from hardware stores and, depending on how hot summer gets, can make up for their cost before long.
Finally, adding some form of exterior shades or awnings can decrease the adjacent room temperature by nearly 3° degrees which again translates to further energy savings.
Energy Saving Tip 4:
Looking for a way to cut down on energy costs and make your house look better? Plants are a great answer!
When plants use photosynthesis to generate energy, they go through a process known as transpiration.
This is where water passes from the roots up through the stem, and out of the leaves. As this water evaporates from the leaves, it removes heat from the air and significantly cools the surrounding environment.
Depending on how large your plants are, they can also provide additional shade in and around your home, multiplying their cooling effect.
Plants are great in more places than you realise!
Energy specialists have noted that placing small trees or shrubs near your external A.C. unit can increase its efficiency by up to nearly 10%!
Many Perth homes have their air conditioning unit located at the side of the house in a hot location, surrounded by a brick or concrete floor, a brick wall and a fence! Consider placing a few plants along the side of your house to keep this area cooler!
Not only are plants good for the environment, they also look great!
Energy Saving Tip 5:
Data taken from the Australian government highlights that an average of 18% of a household’s total energy consumption is used for heating water.
So using less hot water will help reduce your energy consumption!
Taking shorter showers is one way to save hot water, or even having a cooler than usual shower. It may feel cool to begin with, but you’ll feel fresh afterwards – and you’ll have saved some cash!
However, if you’re one of those die-hard post-work long shower individuals (like some of us here at Sarros Electrical), consider using low-flow showerheads. That way you can enjoy a long shower, minus the guilt!
Using water wisely
When doing laundry we also suggest doing larger loads by combining the family’s clothes together, this maximizes water usage, and time and minimizes those pesky bills.
When doing dishes – especially lightly soiled dishes, consider using cold water. It may appear to be a small thing, but when your water heating makes up nearly 1/5th of your home’s energy consumption, it can go a long way!
Energy Saving Tip 6:
A recent survey by the Department of Energy reveals that lighting consumes roughly 10% of the average Australian budget. When you look at how easy it is to leave lights on, it’s not hard to see why!
How can we save hard-earned money when it comes to lighting?
Before you leave home, add it to your checklist: “keys, wallet, phone, lights off!” Do it often enough and you’ll soon be able to smell a light left on from a mile away.
Lights also contribute significantly to the overall heat in a room, the longer your lights are on, the more your room heats up and the more energy you’ll need to expend just to cool it back down.
At Sarros Electrical, we also suggest installing lights with motion sensors, so if there’s someone in the house or around the house, the lights turn on. But if the house is empty, your energy consumption stops so your pockets don’t become empty!
Additionally, switching to LED lights decreases the heat degenerated by every bulb without decreasing the light emitted, meaning that you’re getting the light without excessive heat. Furthermore, they are more energy efficient so they’re costing you less just to run.
Finally, all electronic items generate residual heat, whether they are on or simply standing by. To completely eliminate the heat they generate and power they consume, simply unplug them from the outlet when not in use.
Energy Saving Tip 7:
Enjoy summer outdoors!
Finally, the best way to use reduce electricity is to not use it at all. But how is that possible?
Ok – well we can’t stop using electricity altogether, but by taking advantage of the beautiful Summer weather, spending time outdoors with friends and family, we’re reducing our time consuming electricity indoors!
What could be better for you, your family, and the environment than spending time in the great outdoors?
How will you stay cool this Summer?
Summer is a great time to have fun and enjoy time together as a family. We hope these energy saving tips help you make the most of Summer without any nasty surprises come bill time!