Guide to energy efficient summer savings for your home

Summer has officially started and as the mercury rises so does the energy bill. Air conditioning alone can account for up to 50 percent of your home’s energy costs during the summer months. This may lead many families to look for ways to cut their energy bill while keeping cool.

Having an interest in conserving energy isn’t only about saving money, but that extra cash sure is a nice reward for helping the planet. During the hot, summer months having an energy efficient home can save you money.

Check light bulbs. Consider switching to energy smart light bulbs and energy saving power strips. They use less electricity and will help you save on your electric bill.

Consider energy efficient appliances. Check your appliances to make sure they are not wasting energy and your money. Test the rubber-like seal around the door of your refrigerator by closing the door on a dollar bill. If the dollar slides out easily, your refrigerator may be leaking cold air into the house. Energy Star appliances, which are approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy, can save you up to $700 per year according to EnergyStar.gov.

Perform a home energy audit. Many utility companies offer free energy check-ups to their customers. The utility company will send an expert to your home and alert you to areas where you may be wasting energy. You will also receive other helpful tips on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Turn up the thermostat. Letting your AC run when you are not at home can rack up your bill. A good rule of thumb for when you are not at home is to turn your AC five degrees higher than you normally have it set. If you are willing to make the initial investment, a programmable thermostat can save you money in the long run. To help keep cool around the house wear lightweight, loose clothing made from natural fibers.

Maintain your system. Replace the filters in your air conditioner every month. Dirty, clogged filters are a major waste of money because the air conditioning unit has to use some of its energy just to force the air through the obstructed filter. And, that’s in addition to the energy needed to cool your home.

Turn your yard green. Landscaping is a fun summer project that can provide shade and wind barriers for your home while you give back to the earth. Worried about your water bill? Try watering at night to cut back on evaporation.

During the summer months every little change can make a big difference. Keep in-and-out traffic through the doors to a minimum when possible. And, consider grilling outside instead of using the oven.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.