Summer Home Energy Costs That May Surprise You
We are going to reveal the surprising energy wasters around your home that could cause your energy costs to skyrocket this summer.
It should come as no surprise that home energy use tends to increase alongside the temperature. But this article isn’t about telling you what you already know. We are going to reveal the surprising energy wasters around your home that could cause your energy costs to skyrocket this summer.
Surprising Energy Wasters Around Your Home
“While several days of unusually hot weather can lead to a noticeable increase in your electric bill, an extended period of scorching summer sun can make some customers’ energy bills spike,” said Joseph Pietrzak, products and services manager, Duke Energy Florida.
Average residential energy usage can be broken down accordingly: Heating 41%, Appliances/Electronics/Lighting 35%, Water Heating 18% and Air Conditioning 6%. Fortunately, a few quick fixes can go a long way to reducing energy costs and making your home much more efficient. Below we identify some little-known energy wasters.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), lighting makes up about 10 percent of home energy costs, especially if you still use incandescent bulbs. Only about 10 to 15 percent of the electricity used to power incandescent lights becomes visible light – the rest is turned into heat. Homeowners can save up to 75 percent of that energy by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). You can also make sure that lights are turned off when you leave a room.
Thermostat Slip Up
With the constantly increasing popularity of smart home devices, such as the Amazon Alexa, many homeowners already know about the wonderful energy saving benefits of programmable thermostats. These devices allow you to manipulate your temperature settings depending on the day/time so that you aren’t air conditioning an unoccupied home while you’re at work. Many of today’s thermostats also have the ability to learn your specific patterns and adjust the thermostat accordingly. However, this excellent energy-saving device can be foiled by a fairly common mistake.
“Placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary because the thermostat senses heat from the appliances,” according to the DOE. Yikes!
Ductwork Dos and Don’ts
Did you know that the average home loses roughly 20 percent of their heated and cooled air through the ductwork? Much of this energy waste can be eliminated by properly sealing and insulating inefficient ductwork.
Water Heater Headache
The DOE estimates that heating water accounts for as much as 25 percent of the energy consumed by the average home. This can be avoided by turning the water heater down to the warm setting (120°F).
Did you know that many electronics consume energy even when they are turned off? It’s a phenomenon known as vampire energy. Computers, televisions, and video game consoles are some of the most common offenders.
According to one study from the Natural Resources Defense Council, these energy-wasting appliances consume the equivalent of 50 500-megawatt power plants running all year round. To put this into financial terms, we are looking at around $19 billion of energy annually, or $165 per household.
“Unplug electronics and appliances when not in use,” advises April Saylor, DOE.
According to the DOE, around 76% of sunlight which falls on standard double-pane windows enters a room to become heat. Because of this, the DOE estimates that windows account for 25-40% of our annual heating and cooling costs. Fortunately, some window treatments can help slow heat transfer and keep your home cooler, thus saving energy and you are less reliant on “energy-consuming fans or air-conditioning to cool down a room,” says Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead, Small Business Trends.
In the summer, with the sun beating down on your home, the ability to reflect heat is important in keeping your home cool. A “Summer Shading Coefficient” is a measurement of a product’s ability to reflect heat. For example, if a window treatment reduces heat by 75% to 85%, this translates into a Summer Shading Coefficient of .25 to .15. The lower a product’s coefficient, the more effective it is at reflecting heat. Our recommendation for keeping your home cool in warmer months: Solar Roller Shades or Solar Soft Roman Shades.