5 Energy-Saving Tips for San Antonio Homeowners This Summer
As any Texan knows, energy savings are paramount in the summer. For good reason as the average temperature in the Lone Star State climbs above 90 degrees from June through September, with similarly warm nights in the 70s.
However, spending less on utilities doesn’t have to mean suffering from the intense heat of summer. Purchasing homes designed to use energy efficiently or updated with the right upgrades can lead to lower air conditioning and heating bills all year long and enjoy the comfortable feeling we all want from our homes.
To prevent your utility costs from boiling over, we’ve got five ways you can keep a lid on them:
Be Smart with Your Thermostat
Temperature control, and thus comfort control, all starts with your thermostat. The Public Utility Commission of Texas advises setting your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, as every degree of extra cooling will increase energy use six to eight percent. While we all like the fresh feeling of cold air delivered by a thermostat set to 72 or 70 degrees, slowly raising your thermostat one degree at a time once a week will make the transition to 78 degrees seamless and comfortable. Furthermore, investing in a programmable thermostat can save about $180 annually according to Energy Star if used correctly.
Putting Home Furnishings to Work
Not only is the construction of your home important, but also how you furnish the insides can provide comfort in the heat of summer. Fans, both freestanding and ceiling, are an efficient way to make a room feel cooler without actually lowering the temperature. The consistent air circulation provided by fans evaporates moisture on your skin, causing you to feel cooler.
Additionally, cool your house by not letting in the heat through your windows. Shades and blinds provide a physical barrier to the outside heat and do not require any electricity use. If you currently have shades in your home, keep them closed during the day, especially during high noon when the sun is beating down. If you do not have shades or blinds built in, another quick option is a solar screen, which blocks out 90 percent of the UV rays while still allowing you to see out your windows.
Plant Trees and Shrubs
Creating shade around your home using landscaping trees and shrubs can create cool areas both inside and outside. It is best to plant shade plants near windows and along the sunnier, southwestern side of your home. Not only can mature trees and shrubs increase the value of your home, but they can reduce surrounding air temperatures by up to 9 degrees, helping you save on utility costs as well.
You can also save money by planting them around your air conditioning units, provided that the leaves and branches do not block the unit’s airflow. A shaded unit can improve its efficiency by as much as 10 percent compared to a unit in direct sun.
Start Grilling and Using Countertop Appliances
With your air conditioner working overtime to cool the house down to the ideal temperature just from the heat outside, why add even more heat while you are cooking in the kitchen? Experiment using a slow cooker and toaster oven instead of the oven or stove for your meals as countertop appliances like these use less energy, and they don’t pump as much heat into the kitchen. Additionally, grilling outside when it’s cooler in the evening keeps all the heat outside while also letting your family enjoy the beauty of Texas Hill Country.
Seal Up Your Home
One often-overlooked way to improve efficiency is in ductwork and insulation. Much of the heating and cooling waste in both old and new homes is due to poorly sealed ductwork. When a home is both insulated and properly sealed, the US Department of Energy states that you could save as much as 30 percent of energy usage, a nice savings off your bills during the hot summer months! Homeowners will see a drop in energy bills when their HVAC system is no longer cooling empty spaces, and the climate-controlled air is actually reaching the home’s interior.
It’s often said that “it’s all about the details” in life and when it comes to your home, there are a few “extra” things to look for beyond your HVAC system for a comfortable and energy-efficient home.
Working with the right realtor can make all the difference to notice the little things that will make your dream home an energy efficient home as well. For the best that San Antonio and Boerne have to offer, give Amy a call to find your dream home perfect for the ups and downs of Texas summer.