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Going Green: How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient this Summer

Reduce Energy Consumption

In the summer, many homeowners experience a huge increase in a home’s energy bills. There are several reasons for this, including global warming and families staying home more. In many geographic locations, children are out of school for summer vacation, requiring a cool climate controlled environment in a home.

One: Plant Trees and Shrubs

Early summer is a great time to add shrubs and trees to a home’s exterior landscaping. When trees and shrubs are planted in the correct locations, the plants provide shade to keep a home cooler. The best way to know what shrubs and trees to plant is by hiring a professional landscaper to look at a home’s lawns to determine the angle of the sun. The best shade is from plants of the correct dimensions that are placed in strategic locations.

Two: Air Conditioner Maintenance

Air conditioners are an essential appliance in a modern home to maintain adequate climate control on the hottest days of summer. Late spring is the best time to inspect, clean and repair an air-conditioning system to ensure it operates efficiently. A tune-up for an air conditioner from a professional technician can prevent a breakdown, but more importantly, it can help the device use less electricity. The technician can remove debris such as dust and lubricate components in addition to inspecting vents and ductwork for obstructions.

Three: Add Specialty Window Treatments

Effective window treatments can make a home greener and more energy efficient. Add spray or roll caulking around windows to eliminate gaps where hot air enters and cooled air escapes. During the hottest times of the day, close curtains and drapes to avoid making rooms hotter. To keep a home cooler, place tinted film on window glass. It is also possible to install window shades on the outside of a building that remain in place permanently or adjust in different weather conditions.

Four: Prevent Loss of Climate Controlled Air

Inspect a home carefully to determine if climate controlled air is escaping around old doors that have degraded. Homeowners may need to install new insulated doors that fit better in door openings to reduce loss of air-conditioned air. When an air conditioner is operating, verify that every window in a home is closed correctly and locked to reduce energy consumption. Walk around the exterior of a building to make sure that there are no holes near the foundation or utility lines that require insulation.

Five: Install Low Flow Water Devices

Water usage increases in the summer because families need to take more showers and launder clothing. Install low flow showerheads in bathrooms, and restrict showers to only 10 minutes to reduce water consumption. Instead of running water from faucets for several minutes until it is cool, fill pitchers to place in a refrigerator. For homeowners needing to water flower or vegetable gardens, find the best times of day to use sprinklers or hoses to avoid fast evaporation in hot weather.

Six: Use Circulating Fans and Dehumidifiers

Instead of using air-conditioning on cooler summer days, use circulating box or ceiling fans. Fans are also a good way to augment air-conditioning by helping to push hot air from the ceiling. Place circulating fans in strategic locations such as a hot kitchen for additional cooling while preparing meals rather than turning down the thermostat on the air conditioner. In geographic zones where summers are humid in addition to hot, use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.

Make Simple Changes

Many individuals spend a lot of time in the winter trying to conserve energy to save money while creating less pollution but do not consider energy efficiency in the summer months. With a few simple changes in a home in the summer, homeowners can save money and create less pollution. 

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