In the Sonoran Desert, with temperatures already hovering in the high-90s, it’s safe to assume summer is here. A time for lazy days, warm nights and new experiences, summertime is great. It would be even better though if all you got between the months of May and August were tan lines. However, there are also summer cooling bills to consider, unless you’ve resolved to live at 80+ degrees 24-hours a day.
Did you know? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioners use about six percent of all the electricity produced in the United States, at annual cost of about $29 billion to homeowners. Air conditioners use energy to transfer heat from the interior of your home to the outside (Energy.gov, 2014).
Choosing high-efficiency, ENERGY STAR certified cooling equipment and taking other actions such as sealing air leaks, installing insulation and operating your thermostat efficiently, can help enhance the comfort of your home while saving energy – so you can spend your money on summer adventures not summer cooling bills. Bonus: Most of these energy-efficient measures will yield savings all year long.
Insulation has other advantages, as well, like absorbing emitted sounds and controlling humidity. Insulation can be blown into both walls and attics to reach the required R-value for Arizona. An environmentally friendly, inexpensive option that performs well, given the correct thickness is cellulose insulation. Other materials include fiberglass, mineral wool, and spray polyurethane foam. The decision-making process should include thorough consideration of the pros and cons for each material type.
Seal Air Leaks
Stopping air leaks through your home’s envelope – the windows, doors, outlets, and other openings – can decrease your energy consumption and, in turn, your utility bills. A professional energy audit is one of the most reliable and quickest ways to locate air leaks. Once completed, you can get to work sealing air leaks using caulk, weatherstripping and electrical socket sealers. These materials are generally very affordable and can be found at your local hardware or home improvement store.
Efficient Thermostat Operation
You can easily save energy in the summer by setting the thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit only when you’re at home and setting it higher when you’re aware. You may also want to consider a programmable thermostat. There are many types available including those that learn your habits within two weeks of use. Some newer models are smartphone compatible, and allow you to remotely adjust the temperature if you’re going to be out later than initially planned.