How Cool Are You?

Summertime is upon us, so whether you've recently installed a solar system on your home or are considering adding one, now is the perfect time to think about energy efficiency. Beginning this week, we’re kicking off a series of home cooling tips. Here are just a few fast and easy ways to help offset more of your energy bills. We’ll be sharing more as the dog days of summer press on, so follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more information about solar!

Power: Reduce Menacing Phantom Loads

You’ve dropped the shades. You’ve cranked up the thermostat. And still, your energy bill is running higher than you expected. It might just be what’s called a “phantom load”. What in the world is a phantom load? Well, it’s a clever phrase used to identify just about everything in your home that has a switch and a power cord, and anything that has a power cord and plugs into a wall keeps using power even when it’s turned off. In fact, many items draw close to full power in standby or sleep mode — 24 hours a day. Here’s a quick tip to remember how to manage those phantoms in your home — if it’s plugged in, it’s drawing power.

Don’t have time to unplug every appliance in your house? Here’s a solution! Plug your TVs, espresso machines, gaming consoles and small appliances into a power strip, and turn the power strip off when you aren’t using these items.

Water: Drop It Like It’s Hot

Did you know that washing your clothes in cold water and running full loads when using your dishwasher, washer and dryer can make a huge difference in lowering power bills? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 90 percent of the energy associated with washing clothes is actually related to heating the water.

Here’s another tip: run your dishwasher using cold water, and air dry your dishes.

Air Conditioners: It’s Getting Hot in Here (No Seriously, It’s…Hot)

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioners use nearly six percent of all electricity produced in the United States. This costs homeowners nearly $29 billion annually!

What can you do to make your air conditioner run more efficiently? First, replace your air conditioning filters every month. If your air conditioning unit is on the ground, keep the area around it clean and free of debris or obstructions that might decrease airflow. Set your thermostat at 78 or higher, especially when you’re not home, and use floor and ceiling fans whenever possible. And finally, have your air conditioning unit serviced at least once a year. Ask your air conditioning specialist to install a smart thermostat. They’re inexpensive, and you’ll be surprised at how this simple piece of technology can help you stay cool for the summer!

We’ll be sharing more tips until it gets cooler which we all hope is soon!