Energy-efficient home ideas for the summer

By Kelly Leighton | May 5, 2015 | 5 min. read

With temperatures on the rise, so are electric bills, as residents struggle to stay cool in the summer months.

If homes aren’t adequately prepared for the heat, it can be costly for residents. Help your clients prepare for the summer months and save some money. You may even find some tips to help your own utility bills decrease.

RIS Media’s Andrea Davis has seven tips to make home more energy- efficient this summer.

  1. Find and fix air leaks.
    To prevent an air conditioning bill from skyrocketing this summer, find the leaks in the home and plug them up. Look around windows, doors and in the attic for any air leaks. More weather stripping may need to be added around doors and windows. In the attic or basement, there’s a chance that holes have formed in the insulation, allowing air to leak out. In such cases, homeowners will need to call a professional to insulate the areas that need it. This project needs to be handled by an insulation pro because certain types, especially loose fill and blown-in insulation, are hazardous to your health if ingested.
  2. Upgrade the thermostat.
    Another way to keep the air conditioning bills down this summer is to upgrade the thermostat. If residing in an older home, there’s a good chance the thermostat is outdated and wasting energy. Now is the time to upgrade to a programmable thermostat. These devices save at least 10 percent every month on the electric bill, and they also help cool a home efficiently. Set it as high as possible when leaving during the day to cut costs. Then, when arriving home, it can be turned down to cool things off. There are some types of programmable thermostats that adapt to your patterns and can adjust as needed as well.
  3. Repair or replace windows.
    Windows are one of the greatest sources of air leaks and heat, which can dramatically increase the utility bill during the summer. Make any necessary repairs to the windows. And, because hollow metal allows air to get through easily, replace outdated aluminum frames with wood alternatives whenever possible. Also consider replacing single-pane windows with their double-pane alternatives. This makes windows more energy efficient because double-pane windows reflect sunlight better and insulate the home. There are even Energy Star-certified windows that are known to cut down energy costs by almost 15 percent.
  4. Change air filters.
    Summertime is the best time to think about changing the air filters. HVAC air filters build up a lot of dust and grime over the winter when the heater is running. When spring and summer roll around, change them out so the HVAC system runs more efficiently and keeps air conditioning costs down. Clean air filters help the air conditioner work smoothly; a dirty air filter keeps cold air from getting out, which makes the A/C work harder to push the air out. So save some money and do this easy task in half an hour or less.
  5. Clean air vents.
    Along that same vein, the air conditioning will work harder if the vents are dirty and musty. Vents cool every room in the house when the cold air pushes through the filter and into the vents, releasing cold air in a room. If the vents are covered in dust and grime, less air comes out, and there’s a chance the dust and dirt comes with it. So don’t let the room get covered in dirt or make the A/C unit work overtime. Hire a professional to clean the ducts and vents for between $250 and $450. It can significantly lower cooling bills during the summer and prevent extra cleaning.
  6. Add ceiling fans.
    Another way to cut down on cooling costs this summer is to find an alternative. Rather than keeping the A/C on all day, why not turning on the ceiling fan? If there are no ceiling fans in the home, one can always be installed. The cost to install a ceiling fan averages between $150 and $300, but adding one could add up to a lot of savings over the summer. Ceiling fans push down cool air while pulling up hot air into the ceiling. They use a lot less power than air conditioning units and will pay back their initial cost quickly in what is saved on the utility bill every month. Fans create a chilly effect in the room that will leave residents feeling cool and comfortable on a warm day.
  7. Update light fixtures.
    One other way to keep your costs down is to replace all of the hot incandescent and fluorescent bulbs with their CFL and LED alternatives. Incandescent and fluorescent bulbs give off a lot of heat, which contributes to the internal temperature of the house. Rather than spending extra money to cool the home, why not spend some money on bulbs that give off no heat? CFL and LED bulbs are just as bright, and they are energy efficient and emit no heat when they’re on in a room. This means the internal temperature of the house won’t be affected when they’re on and more can always be turned on. Although they cost more upfront, they’ll pay back quickly in how much is saved every month on both the electric bill and cooling costs.

Looking for events?

Pennsylvania Realtors® can access monthly webinars and much more.

Upcoming Events

Did you like this post?

Click on a star to rate this post!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Related Articles

Not a Realtor®? Learn how to become a member.