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  • Tips for Keeping Your House Cool and Your Energy Bill Low This Summer

    keep cool with home automation

    Any time the summer months roll around, one of the first things on a homeowner’s mind is how to keep their house cool on days when the temperature is off the charts. It is no secret that as the mercury rises, your energy bill tends to soar to insane heights as well. Yes, you could save tons of money by turning off your air conditioner, but let’s get real–nobody wants to do that. So with a healthy dose of practicality in mind, below are some solid energy-saving strategies you can use this summer to help keep more money in your pocket while keeping your comfort level intact.

    1. When at all possible, operate your clothes dryer, dishwasher, oven and stove in the early morning or evening time. These appliances generate extra heat in the home, which will force your air conditioner to work harder to keep the house cool.
    2. If your home has an attic, you can significantly reduce your air conditioning costs by installing an attic fan (a.k.a. a whole-house fan), which helps to exhaust the volcanically hot air out of your attic on sweltering days. This will keep the air from sinking into your house, which puts more strain on your air conditioner.
    3. Make sure that all of the air conditioning vents in your home are open. There’s an urban legend that’s been in circulation (no pun intended) for years now about how closing some of the vents in your home will help lower your energy consumption by not cooling or heating a particular unused room, but actually the opposite is true: Keeping some of your vents closed will only serve to make your air conditioner work harder, which will raise your energy costs.
    4. Sometimes your house doesn’t get as cool as it should because the air filters in your ventilation system are clogged and dirty. On one hand, that simply means that they’ve been doing their job (e.g., keeping dirt and dust particles out of the air you’re breathing), but you have to stay on top of it to make sure that they don’t get too bogged down. Make sure to change out your air filters every couple of months or so; they cost anywhere from $2 to $10 on average, so it’s a very inexpensive step you can take to save a substantial amount of money on your monthly energy bill. Simply measure your vents or write down the size of the filters that are currently in your system to make it easy to shop for them at your local home improvement store.
    5. Make sure that your ceiling fans are spinning in the right direction. When the weather is hot, your ceiling fans should be spinning counter-clockwise, which will draw the hot air up and out. Most ceiling fans have some type of toggle switch that allows you to change the direction of the fan’s rotation, so double-check to make sure you have it on the right setting.
    6. Having a smart thermostat can really come in handy when it comes to making your home more energy efficient. It’s not very efficient for you to have your air conditioner running all day long while you’re at work (and the house is empty) just so you can come home to a cool house in the evening. By using a smart thermostat that’s connected to the BeHome247 home automation system, you can program your thermostat to turn on about 30 minutes before you arrive home from work, which is plenty of time to get the house nice and cool by the time you walk through the door.
    7. Believe it or not, the water heater is the third largest energy expense for the average family. Taking showers instead of baths can save quite a bit of money on water heating expense. Also check all of your faucets and plumbing for any defects or leaks; for example, just one dripping hot water faucet left unchecked can waste over 200 gallons of water per month! You can also set the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit–for many models, the factory default setting is 140 degrees. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 120 degrees is fully sufficient for your year-round water needs.
    8. Lights generate heat. Keeping the lights off when they are not in use will help keep your home cooler. The BeHome247 home automation system enables you to program which lights you want to have on or off at any given time, and you can control all of these light settings from your smartphone, tablet or laptop for ultimate convenience.

    So there you have it–eight tips that can keep your house cool during the summer without requiring any pre-1900s living conditions. If you put these suggestions into practice, you can realize substantial savings on your monthly energy bill without missing a beat in the comfort department!

    BeHome247 Energy Management Package