Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill During a Heat Wave

As the California sun blazes and temperatures soar during the hot summer months, the temptation to retreat into the cool embrace of air conditioning becomes almost irresistible. Yet, every notch down on the thermostat translates into a surge on your electric bill, which can turn the summer months into a season of financial strain. But what if there was a way to beat the heat while also saving on your energy bill? 

This summer, don’t let the heat wave scorch a hole in your wallet. Instead, let’s explore some effective strategies to conserve energy, save money, and keep your home comfortably cool. Here are some tips to keep your home cool, your bills low and help you harness the power of solar energy so you can turn a heatwave into an opportunity for sustainability and savings.

The Importance of Saving Energy During a Heat Wave

Heatwaves, with their relentless intensity, can exert a tremendous strain on our electrical grid. As temperatures rise, so does our reliance on air conditioning, which leads to a surge in energy demand. This sudden spike can necessitate the activation of additional power plants, often those that are less efficient and more carbon-intensive. This not only strains our energy infrastructure but also contributes to the environmental challenges we face. 

However, we have the power to change this narrative. By adopting a series of energy-saving measures, we can significantly reduce the load on the grid and pave the way for a more sustainable and resilient energy future. Here are some energy-saving strategies that will reduce the strain on the grid and contribute to a more sustainable future for everyone.

No-Cost Tips to Save Energy

Cook Smart with Clean Energy

During the summer, try to avoid using your oven on hot days. Instead, opt for the stove, microwave, or better yet, take your culinary skills outdoors and fire up the grill. This not only reduces the amount of energy your home uses, but also prevents your home from heating up due to the oven.

Optimize Your Air Conditioner

Clear the area around your AC vents for better ventilation. Keep the thermostat at 78 F degrees or higher when you’re at home, if your health permits it. This can result in approximately 2% savings on cooling costs for every degree above 78 F. You can also consider investing in portable air conditioners for specific rooms to avoid cooling the entire house.

Plan Your Day

Schedule heat-generating tasks like laundry and cooking during cooler times of the day (this also helps you take advantage of reduced rates during off-peak times). You may also want to consider spending the afternoon at a community cooling center or local library. This not only helps you stay cool, but also reduces the work your air conditioner has to do to cool your entire home to a comfortable temperature.

Efficient Lighting

Turn off any lights in rooms that you aren’t in or aren’t being used throughout your home. Embrace natural light during the day and consider candlelit dinners or dimly lit game nights in the evenings. You can also switch to LED bulbs to light up your home, which are more energy-efficient, produce less heat than traditional bulbs and can help save you money on your monthly electricity bills.

Low-Cost Tips to Save Energy

Use Fans

Room fans can help circulate air and cool your home, allowing you to raise your thermostat about four degrees F to save on cooling costs. This reduces the amount of work your air conditioner has to do, helps to conserve energy and reduce your energy bill.

Seal Your Home

Seal any crevices and fissures around your doors and windows using caulk. This straightforward action can effectively block warm air from entering your home, keep cool air in, and enhance the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems in a significant way without making your AC work harder.

Maintain Your AC

Make it a habit to inspect and clean your room air conditioner’s filter on a regular basis. An unclean filter can hinder the air flow and compel your system to expend extra energy. Additionally, contemplate upgrading to an air conditioner that boasts an Energy Star certification to optimize efficiency.

Water Heater Efficiency

If possible, lower your water heating costs throughout the summer, as this typically accounts for 20 percent of your home’s energy. During a heat wave, avoid baths, enjoy a cool shower instead, and if you do have to do the laundry, put it in a cool setting or just do the chore in the evening, since a lot of energy companies charge extra during “peak hours.”

Investment Ideas for Long-Term Savings

Air Conditioner Placement

Position your room’s air conditioning unit in a cooler, shaded spot, preferably on a north-facing wall, and keep it distanced from any appliances that generate heat, such as televisions and lamps. This strategic placement helps your air conditioner operate more efficiently by reducing the amount of heat it has to combat, ensuring it doesn’t exert more energy than required to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.

Outdoor Awnings

Installing outdoor awnings will help protect your home from the hot sun rays all year-round. You can also paint your house a light color to reflect heat. Changes like these can significantly reduce your home’s energy consumption during the summer months, resulting in more savings for your wallet.

Energy-Efficient Equipment

Think about upgrading your pool’s pumps and motors to models that prioritize energy efficiency. If your pool is equipped with a filter and an automatic cleaning system, consider reducing their running hours. By implementing these changes, you can decrease your overall energy consumption and see a noticeable reduction in your electricity bill.

Programmable Thermostat

Investing in a programmable thermostat allows you to set your air conditioning to turn on just before you get home, rather than leaving it on all day. According to the Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7-10°F for 8 hours per day from its normal setting.

Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

When it’s time to put a load of laundry in, wash your clothes in cold water. Not only does this help your clothes maintain their color, but it also saves a significant amount of energy. Hot water accounts for about 90% of a washing machine’s energy usage.

Embrace the Power of the Sun: Solar Energy

Solar panels harness the abundant energy of the sun, converting it into electricity that can power your home. This clean, renewable source of energy can significantly reduce your reliance on the grid and lead to substantial savings on your energy bill.

But the benefits of solar energy extend beyond just savings. By generating your own electricity, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and solar panels can also increase the value of your home. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, homes with solar panels sell for more than those without. So, not only can solar panels save you money on your energy bill, they can also be a smart investment for the future.

Start Saving With Solar Technologies Today

While temperatures continue to rise in California, there are ways you can effectively manage the increased costs that come with it. By adopting these energy-efficient tips, conserving your energy usage and offsetting your electricity bills with solar power, you can take control of your energy costs.

Solar Technologies offers a range of solar solutions that can help you harness the power of the sun to generate your own electricity. Our Bay Area team has more than 25 years of experience in designing and installing the right size home solar system to your family’s energy needs. Schedule an online appointment today to learn more.

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