As the deep winter snow finishes its slow melt, and trees and bushes begin to bud, consumers hear that nagging voice in the back of their heads that warns them of impending air conditioning energy use and inflated bills. Good news is on the horizon! There are many methods consumers can employ to help save energy and reduce the high cost of air conditioning.
Simple steps, such as cleaning the HVAC system once a year and changing dirty filters increases the systems efficiency and reduces energy use and costs. Consumers are encouraged to set thermostats at higher temperatures, even more when not at home. Use heat producing appliances such as dishwashers, washers, dryers and ovens during evening hours instead of during peak time. Doing this will cut energy costs by taking advantage of the cooler evening temperatures, placing less stress on the cooling system, allowing it to run more efficiently. Hot water heater temperatures should be set at 120 degrees. Unplugging unused appliances, like freezers, will also reduce energy use.
Saving Energy through Better Chemistry
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) points out that advances in chemistry have made it possible for consumers to gain substantial energy savings. The simplest change anyone can make to reduce their energy consumption is to change the incandescent bulbs to LED or fluorescent bulbs, which use 70% less energy. The ACC estimates that simply by changing light bulbs, worldwide energy demand would be reduced by 30%. New materials help create better appliances with better ratings for energy savings. Energy star ratings help consumers make smarter choices when purchasing new appliances to help reduce energy costs.
Home Energy Audit
The Department of Energy helps consumers by providing information about energy audits–also known as energy assessments. There are many tools and materials consumers can find to help them through the process. Once the audit is complete, homeowners understand where their home is losing energy and driving costs up. Often consumers find that drafty windows and inadequate insulation can cause surprisingly large increases in energy usage and costs. The ACC estimates that new insulation saves up to 40 times the cost of producing it. The fixes that are found in an energy audit may be simple, like adding new insulation, or as extensive as replacing windows or even entire cooling systems.
Updating Cooling Systems
Navigating the confusing path to installing a new cooling system can be daunting. Consumers will need to do a bit of research to help them choose the system that will help them in their efforts to save energy. When choosing between energy saving heat pumps or air conditioners, a number of factors should be considered. Washington Energy Services provides consumers with all the information needed to understand what they are purchasing. With many notable differences between heat pumps and air conditioners, Washington Energy Services’ info graphic helps consumers decide which system is best for their needs. Consumers can discover what the difference is between the two options, approximate costs, projected savings and expected lifetime of each system.
Performing any of these suggestions will help consumers reduce their summer energy consumption and reduce monthly energy costs. From simple changes in the home to upgrading cooling systems, consumers can reduce energy consumption following any of these suggestions.