When we think of high energy bills Grand Rapids homeowners often think of winter’s chill. However, many people spend more on energy than necessary in the summer months as well. With a few simple practices, and sometimes with the help of home improvement contractors in Grand Rapids who can help address energy issues, you may be pleasantly surprised by the savings possible.
In most homes, heating, ventilation and/or air-conditioning equipment (HVAC) consume the most energy, averaging 48 percent of any given home’s energy use. These simple tips can help curb your summer energy use while maintaining your comfort:
- In summer, set the thermostat higher whenever the home is unoccupied, such as when you’re on vacation or away from home during work hours. The easy way to do this is with a programmable thermostat. The bonus is that similar practices in the cooler seasons will yield winter energy savings as well, and can reduce your annual energy use for heating and cooling by about 10 percent.
- Use your ceiling fans efficiently. Ceiling fans should be set to rotate in a counter clockwise direction in summer, clockwise in winter. By using ceiling fans, you should be able to reduce thermostat settings by 4°F without affecting your overall comfort. When you leave a room, however, turn off the fan. Fans increase comfort in the summer through a wind chill effect, so they don’t keep you cooler when you’re not in the room, but they do continue to use energy.
- Avoid using the oven. Ovens increase the temperature throughout the home. Instead, try grilling, using the microwave, or cooking on the stove.
- Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home.
- Adding insulation between the indoors and the outdoors reduces that energy demand. This is because the greater the difference between the indoor and the outdoor temperatures, the more energy it will take to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. In our area, savings from insulating your walls and the attic could be almost double the savings of air sealing.
Many of the precautions you take to save energy in the summer will benefit you in the winter as well. To find out the best way to reduce your high energy bills, contact GreenFIT Homes for a home performance analysis today.
Photo: Roger Mommaerts