7 Energy Efficient Home Improvements for the Summer

Posted on Apr 15 2015 - 8:49am by Andrea Davis
#18

Summer is hot, and if your home isn’t prepared for the warmer weather, your utility bills can increase significantly. Rather than spending a fortune over the next few months, why not take steps to prepare your home and make it more efficient? Here are some steps to help:

#1 Find and fix air leak
To prevent your air conditioning bill from skyrocketing this summer, find the leaks in your home and plug them up. Look around your windows and doors and in the attic for any air leaks. You might need to add more weather stripping around your doors and windows. In your attic or basement, there’s a chance that holes have formed in your insulation, allowing air to leak out. In such cases, you’ll need to call a professional to insulate the areas that need it. This project needs to be handled by an insulation pro because certain types -- especially loose fill and blown-in insulation -- are hazardous to your health if ingested.

#2 Upgrade your thermostat
Another way to keep your air conditioning bills down this summer is to upgrade your thermostat. If you live in an older home, there’s a good chance your thermostat is outdated and wasting energy. Now is the time to upgrade to a programmable thermostat. These devices save at least 10 percent every month on your bill, and they also help cool your home efficiently. Set it as high as possible when you leave your home during the day to cut costs. Then, when you come home, you can turn it down to cool things off. There are some types of programmable thermostats that adapt to your patterns and can adjust as needed as well.

#3 Repair or replace windows
Windows are one of the greatest sources of air leaks and heat, which can dramatically increase your utility bill during the summer. Make any necessary repairs to your windows. And, because hollow metal allows air to get through easily, replace outdated aluminum frames with wood alternatives whenever possible. You should also think about replacing single-pane windows with their double-pane alternatives. This makes your windows more energy efficient because double-pane windows reflect sunlight better and insulate your home. There are even Energy Star-certified windows that are known to cut down energy costs by almost 15 percent.

#4 Change air filters
Summertime is the best time to think about changing your air filters. HVAC air filters build up a lot of dust and grime over the winter when your heater is running. When spring and summer roll around, you need to change them out so the HVAC system runs more efficiently and keeps your air conditioning costs down. Clean air filters help your air conditioner work smoothly; a dirty air filter keeps cold air from getting out, which makes your A/C work harder to push the air out. So save some money and do this easy task in half an hour or less.

#5 Clean air vents
Along that same vein, your air conditioning will work harder if the vents are dirty and musty. Vents cool every room in the house when the cold air pushes through the filter and into the vents, releasing cold air in a room. If the vents are covered in dust and grime, less air comes out, and there’s a chance the dust and dirt comes with it. So don’t let your room get covered in dirt or make your A/C unit work overtime. Hire a professional to clean your ducts and vents for between $250 and $450. It can significantly lower your cooling bills during the summer and prevent extra cleaning.



Contemporary Bedroom by Idrisi Designs in Los Angeles, CA

#6 Add ceiling fans
Another way to cut down on cooling costs this summer is to find an alternative. Rather than keeping the A/C on all day, why not turning on the ceiling fan? If you don’t have a ceiling fan in a room, you can always have one installed. The cost to install a ceiling fan averages between $150 and $300, but adding one could add up to a lot of savings over the summer. Ceiling fans push down cool air while pulling up hot air into the ceiling. They use a lot less power than air conditioning units and will pay back their initial cost quickly in what you save on the utility bill every month. You’ll be able to turn the thermostat up without feeling a real change in temperature. Fans create a chilly effect in the room that will leave you feeling cool and comfortable on a warm day.

#7 Update light fixtures
One other way to keep your costs down is to replace all of your hot incandescent and fluorescent bulbs with their CFL and LED alternatives. Incandescent and fluorescent bulbs give off a lot of heat, which contributes to the internal temperature of the house. Rather than spending extra money to cool your home, why not spend some money on bulbs that give off no heat? CFL and LED bulbs are just as bright, and they are energy efficient and emit no heat when they’re on in a room. This means the internal temperature of your house won’t be affected when they’re on and you can turn more on. Although they cost more upfront, they’ll pay back quickly in how much you’ll save every month on both the electric bill and cooling costs.

This blog was contributed by HomeAdvisor.

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18 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Kyra Quarles April 17, 2015 at 11:37 am - Reply

    This is a great article I will be posting to my Facebook Business Page – great advice to share with our customers and friends!

    • Nick Caruso April 17, 2015 at 11:51 am - Reply

      Thanks so much for sharing, Kyra!

  2. John Green April 28, 2015 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Every Realtor should know how to create a home that uses less energy. For more tips on home performance contact a Green Designated Realtor

  3. Stephanie May 7, 2015 at 7:39 am - Reply

    Ceiling fans are great way to reduce the bills, but for some reason I’m too scared to install a fan on my ceiling. Probably I’ve seen way too many scary scenes in the movies with them.

  4. John Smith May 11, 2015 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Your point number three about repairing or replacing windows is a great point. Although it might seem unreasonable because it can be expensive, quality windows to make a huge differently. I recently replaced my windows. They used to be drafty and cold, but the new windows keep the rooms so much cooler. I can definitely tell a difference.

  5. Betsy Perry June 1, 2015 at 3:34 am - Reply

    Great tips! It’s true that ceiling fan save up a lot of money. @ Stephanie, I guess it’s ok to have a ceiling fan at home. I have been seriously thinking of installing one and have been reading various blogs on it. The recent one I read ( http://www.theshockdoctors.ca/blog/general/5-electricity-saving-tips-keep-cool-save-money-this-summer/ ) suggested to always get a licensed electrical contractor to do the job. Also make sure that , the fan is installed in an ESA Approved fan mounting box. We have to ensure that they are hung properly.

  6. Sarah July 24, 2015 at 5:16 am - Reply

    I have been planning for quite some time to replace my windows with energy saving windows. After a lot of research I have decided to go with double glazed windows. There are a lot of dealers out here. I came across few reviews here ( http://www.ontariowindowreviews.com/ ). I am still confused which one should I go for. Any suggestions??

  7. Natalie McKinney September 25, 2015 at 3:16 am - Reply

    With the rising costs of utility bills, these tips are truly helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  8. John Smith February 5, 2016 at 1:28 am - Reply

    Nice Post !
    Thanks for sharing information.

  9. Susan Roberts March 25, 2016 at 11:43 am - Reply

    In this article, I found useful tips about my home. In my house, I have ceiling fans and I recommend it. This is the perfect way to get rid of summer heat. Very interesting ideas, thanks for sharing!

  10. Emily Mullins April 27, 2016 at 2:28 am - Reply

    Thank you for posting such nice ideas.

  11. Harry Middleton July 16, 2016 at 6:42 am - Reply

    Very helpful post! Thank you!

  12. HomeFloors August 8, 2016 at 5:42 am - Reply

    Energy efficiency is really the way to go. There are so much you can do to make energy efficient. The article focuses on some of them.

  13. Ivey Bradshow September 19, 2016 at 7:44 am - Reply

    That is very good solution for the cold winter months. It’s great post. Thank you!

  14. Mony Zaharieva December 30, 2016 at 3:37 am - Reply

    Good advice for the winter! Thank you!

  15. Lilly Collins February 20, 2017 at 5:01 am - Reply

    Helpful Info. Cheers.

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