Summer means siestas and Saturdays by the pool. For many people it also means sweat and rising energy bills… but it doesn’t have to! With a few easy tweaks, you can enjoy the cool comfort of modern air conditioning without the gut punch of the summer energy bill.
PRACTICAL ENERGY SAVING TIPS
Energy Saving Air Conditioner Alternatives:
Ductless Air Conditioners
Ductless air conditioners are a great way to cool your home this summer. As their name implies, they do not require ducts. This differentiates them from central HVAC systems and saves homeowners from the costs related to ductwork installation. However, they are also compatible in homes with central air systems and ducts already installed. You can install a ductless unit anywhere in your home, and they are perfect in rooms that are out of reach from your ductwork.
Ductless air conditioners are one of the most efficient ways to cool your home. They drastically reduce your home’s energy bills while minimizing your carbon footprint. Most models come with high SEER and Energy Star rankings. They are also constructed with recycled materials and R-410A, an ozone-friendly refrigerant. Many ductless air conditioners also utilize smart technology to make operation easier. For example, sensors detect when you enter and exit the room and alter the temperature accordingly. There are also smartphone apps and remote controls that allow you to control the temperature from the couch or the other room. With these innovations, the higher initial cost is offset by your drastic energy savings and reduced electric bill.
Homeowners also love ductless air conditioners because of their versatility. They act as heating devices during the winter and as an air filter. To keep your air quality up, remember to clean the air filter every four to six weeks by removing it and wiping it with a dry cloth. The efficiency, cost, versatility, and performance of ductless air conditioners make them perfect for homeowners looking to cool their house on a budget this summer!
Portable and Ventless Air Conditioners
Portable air conditioners are an excellent choice to cool your home on a budget. There are a variety of different models and types available at reasonable costs for homeowners. They are stand-alone units with each important component self-contained in a plastic or metal housing cabinet. Many models come on wheels to simplify their transportation, and they also operate as humidifiers. Overall, be wary that they are not as efficient as some other air conditioner types and models. Portable air conditioners are loved by homeowners because of their simplified installation. Simply follow the instructions in the manual, and you’ll have cold air in no time!
Window air conditioners are reasonably priced ventless air conditioners. They are ideal in any small to medium sized room with a window, such as a studio or one bedroom apartment. They are very easy to install, affordable to maintain, and can serve as an excellent complement to an already existing central HVAC system. However, they are not without flaw. Window AC units are not very efficient or aesthetically pleasing, and they are very loud during operation.
Cooling accounts for nearly half of your monthly energy bill in the hotter months, but it can easily skyrocket if your unit isn’t operating the way it should. Schedule regular yearly check-ups for your A/C unit regardless of the type of A/C you have to help prevent it from working harder than it has to.
Utilize Your Ceiling Fans:
It’s time to wake up that ceiling fan that’s been hanging dormant for months. Turn on the fan and turn up the temperature: raising your thermostat by one degree can save up to 2 – 3% on energy cooling costs — set your thermostat to 79° and use fans to feel up to 5° cooler.
Your ceiling fan spins two ways: clockwise, and counterclockwise. In the winter you should be operating the ceiling fan at low speed in the clockwise direction, which produces a gentle updraft and forces warm air near the ceiling down into the room. Setting it counterclockwise during toasty times will circulate the air and push the cool air down towards you, treating you to a cool breeze. Double-check the switch at the base of your fan to be sure it's spinning the right way.
Carry on My Wayward Sun:
The desert sun bakes your windows all day long. Plant low water use shade trees in front of south, east, or west facing windows to help keep sunlight from heating up your home in the summer months.
Connect with your Shea Home Wherever You Go:
Don’t spend money to cool your home when you’re away at work all day! Program your thermostat to turn up the temperature when you are not home, or get a smart thermostat with SheaConnect™, Shea Homes smart home suite.
Unplug & Close Your Blinds:
Turn off unnecessary lights and appliances; they can add heat to your home. Unplugging appliances when you aren’t using them could help lower energy costs as well. TVs, toasters, laundry machines, dishwashers, and clothes irons all put off heat taking up more power than you’d expect, even when you aren’t using them.
And while no one expects you to forgo doing laundry all summer, you can keep your home comfortable by doing chores outside the hottest times of the day. Save running your appliances until evening, when you won’t have to sweat while you fold your clothes.
Close those blinds. It’s called the greenhouse effect: sunlight and heat creep through your windows but have nowhere to escape to, so they hang around like the unwelcome guests they are, accounting for up to 30% of the unwanted heat in your home. So, when the sun is out, keep your blinds closed; doing just this can lower mid-day temperatures by almost 20 degrees.
Family Fun Tips To Keep You Cool All Summer
Keep your family cool and entertained all summer long with these fun energy-saving tips!
While practical energy saving tips will save you money, they aren’t the best for trying to stifle your family’s boredom when you’re staying indoors to beat the heat. If you’re stuck inside with the air conditioner, we understand!
We’ve rounded up the best chilly treats, fun activities, and backyard games so you can have a blast - without blasting that AC.
Icy Treats to Keep You Cool
Popsicles are a delicious way to chill out during a heat wave — from fruity to creamy, you’ll find nearly endless variations. Why not step up your popsicle game by adding sour gummy worms for a pop of excitement? You can enjoy your sweets faster with a popsicle maker, but popsicle molds work with a little patience!
Snow cones are another summertime favorite, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to whip up snow cone syrup — all you need is Kool-Aid and sugar! Snow cone machines are helpful for making these treats, but the crushed ice mode in your fridge will work in a pinch.
Enjoying a cold treat on a hot summer day!
Indoor Activities For Staying In the A/C
You don’t have to be bored just because you’re staying cool in front of the air conditioning vent. Tap into your ice maker to play a range of fun games, from ice cube painting to ice bath adventures.
If it’s too hot outside for your picnic, why not bring it indoors? Lay out a blanket, put your favorite potato salad into a basket, and host your meal on the floor. Then, when the dishes are put away, you can play your favorite yard games like corn hole inside — though we recommend you toss those bags a little gentler than usual, of course.
Order pizza for your next indoor picnic.
Backyard Games to Beat the Boredom
Brave the backyard on hot days by adding some water fun! Punch holes into a two-liter bottle and attach it to the end of a hose to create a silly sprayer. Add water to your favorite games — like jumping rope while holding a full cup — and we guarantee you’ll be soaked by the end of it. Get creative and freeze t-shirts for a chilly competitive game, or freeze necklaces for a cooled-off ice lei!
Creativity will save the day if you’re trying to entertain the family through a heat wave. Frozen treats and games make all the difference when you’re trying to change a boring day into a playful one.
Hit the pool for summer relief.
At Shea Homes®, we work to keep our new homes energy efficient from the start, which is why our ENERGY STAR® certified homes use up to 20-30% less energy than other non-certified homes. Through a combination of complete thermal enclosure systems, high efficiency ventilation, comprehensive water management systems, and energy-efficient appliances and lighting, together families that have purchased ENERGY STAR labeled homes save more than $350 million dollars each year on utility bills.
Visit Shea Homes to learn more about the Shea difference.