Rising home heating and cooling costs mean higher energy bills. Now is a good time to consider energy-efficient home improvements to reduce your overall energy use and save you money this summer.
If you use air conditioning in the summer, you can save money by keeping the cool air inside with weather stripping. To check seals, light an incense stick and move it around the edge of your doors and windows. If the smoke moves horizontally, there is an air leak.
INSULATE ATTICS, WALLS AND FLOORS:
According to the Department of Energy, you can reduce your cooling needs by 30 percent by adding just a few hundred dollars worth of new insulation. The extra cushion between your living space and the outdoors pays for itself over time. Although the tendency may be to just focus on the attic, don’t forget other key places such as crawl spaces, ceilings, basement walls, and around recessed lighting fixtures (just make sure those fixtures are designed for direct insulation contact).
In the summer, roof temperatures can reach 140 degrees. Plant deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves in the winter) on the south side of the house to block the sun. Plant smaller trees or large shrubs on the west side to block heat from the setting sun.
INVEST IN A CEILING FAN:
Ceiling fans are a cost saving way to reduce energy use since they use 98% less energy than most central air conditioners. Since the fans will provide an extra cooling effect, the air conditioner will come on less frequently saving you money. Hot air rises so running the ceiling fan counter clockwise in the summer is the most effective way to cool a room.