Summer is almost here, but with that nice, warm weather comes a significant rise in our energy costs. Do you know how much you typically spend on electricity during the fall and spring? Have you noticed whether this amount seems to increase in the summer? According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average household spent around $400 on electricity during the summer in 2018. Heating and cooling costs make up about 50 percent of a home’s total energy budget. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep the costs down. Here are four ways to reduce your energy bills this summer:
It may seem counterintuitive, but ceiling fans are actually a great way to help lower energy costs while maintaining a comfortable temperature inside your home. During the summer, ceiling fans can help keep you cool by creating a “wind chill” effect. Many people don’t realize that ceiling fans don’t actually cool the air–they just make it feel cooler. The cooling effect created by the moving air helps maintain a comfortable temperature in the room so that you don’t have to run the air conditioner. At the very least, you’ll be able to set the thermostat to a slightly higher temperature while remaining comfortable. The closer the thermostat settings are to the outdoor temperature, the less your air conditioner will run. The result is monthly savings on your energy bills by reducing energy consumption.
Pictured: Modern Forms Morpheus III
Tips for Reducing Costs
Simply installing ceiling fans in your home isn’t enough to reduce your monthly energy costs. The only way you can expect to save money on your energy bills each month is to make sure your fans are properly installed and that you use them correctly. In order to maximize the airflow, ceiling fans should always be installed so that the fan blades are at least 8 feet away from the floor, and at least 7 inches away from the ceiling. Make sure your ceiling fans are installed with the correct equipment so that they work effectively. An improperly installed fan could come loose and end up falling on someone and seriously injuring them. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for properly installing a fan.
Something else you’ll want to make sure you do is set the fan’s motors to spin counterclockwise, as this will push the air down. This creates the “wind chill” effect we discussed earlier, which makes the room feel cooler.
The most important thing to remember about using ceiling fans to help reduce your home’s energy usage is that they help increase energy efficiency by making the people in a room feel cooler. Ceiling fans don’t actually cool the air in the room itself. For this reason, you should always remember to turn fans off when nobody is in the room. Running a ceiling fan when a room is empty is a waste of energy itself.
Energy-Efficient Ceiling Fans
At Hansen Wholesale, we offer a variety of energy-efficient ceiling fans, from ENERGY STAR qualified fans that meet specific energy requirements set by the EPA to fans powered by DC motors that use up to five times less electricity than AC motors. The following are just a few examples of the energy-saving ceiling fans we have to offer:
Modern Forms Morpheus III—This fan gets a five-out-of-five rating from us. This eco-friendly ceiling fan exceeds our requirements for quality, airflow and energy efficiency, keeping you cool while using less electricity. What’s more, it features smart technology, which allows you to sync it to your mobile device and easily control it using an app.
Fanimation Custom Wrap—This large 64-inch ceiling fan is extremely versatile with a variety of motor and blade finishes available. It features a DC motor that reduces energy usage by up to 75 percent and is ENERGY STAR qualified.
Emerson Carrera Grande ECO—We give this fan our absolutely highest recommendation for quality, design and performance. It features the Emerson DC EcoMotor, which is up to three times more efficient than typical ceiling fan motors and only uses around 33 watts of energy. Not only that, but it also lasts longer than AC motors and is virtually noise-free. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly ceiling fan, then this fan is for you.
You’ve probably heard that you can reduce energy consumption and save money by remembering to turn your lights off when you leave a room. The truth is that whether or not you actually lower your energy usage depends on what kind of light bulbs you’re using, how long you keep the lights on and how much you pay for electricity.
Pictured: Maxim Lighting Bejewel LED
Types of Light Bulbs
There are four main types of light bulbs, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some light bulbs perform better in different areas of the home.
Incandescent—Incandescent bulbs are the least energy-efficient form of lighting. However, they’re also the most common because they’re affordable, don’t take long to turn on and come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
LED—LEDs (light emitting diodes) have a long lifetime and are extremely energy-efficient. When used properly, you can get more than 50,000 hours of use out of an LED bulb. What’s more, they light up instantly and are usually the brightest among the bulb types.
Fluorescent—You’re probably familiar with fluorescent light bulbs. These are the white tubes of light that you often see illuminating commercial spaces and industrial buildings. Fluorescent bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs are, but require a lot of energy to power on.
Compact fluorescent—Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are similar to fluorescent lights. They’re known for being efficient, inexpensive and long-lasting. However, much like fluorescent lights, they require a lot of energy to light up.
If you’re looking to upgrade the lighting in your home, we offer a selection of ENERGY STAR labeled lights, super-efficient LED lights and a selection of energy-saving ceiling fans with lights that look great, perform efficiently and will help save you money on your utility bills month-to-month.
Wattage vs. Lumens
If you want to get the most efficiency out of your light bulbs, it’s important that you understand the meaning behind two terms: wattage and lumens. Lumens measure a light bulb’s brightness, while wattage measures the amount of energy a light bulb uses. We generally don’t measure light bulbs in wattage anymore, since wattage doesn’t correspond to brightness with LEDs (in other words, a very bright LED bulb may not draw very many watts). Pay attention to wattage differences between equivalent LED and other types of bulbs, as LEDs always come out on top.
Window treatments are another effective solution for keeping homes cool and your energy costs low. Did you know that 30 percent of a home’s energy is lost through the window? Window coverings have been found to dramatically reduce the amount of energy lost and lower heating and cooling costs while keeping homes comfortable.
How Window Treatments Help
In addition to providing you and your family with privacy, window treatments serve a variety of other functions, including temperature control and increased insulation. Window treatments control how much sunlight shines into a room. The amount of light that gets into a room can affect the room’s temperature. Through a process called “solar heat gain,” direct sunlight into a large window can cause a room to heat up very quickly. This is caused when the solar radiation from the sun is absorbed through the window and transmits heat into the room. Installing the right window treatments in your home will allow you to block out sunlight while keeping your rooms cool.
Types of Window Treatments
Most window treatments can help control the temperature in your home and reduce your AC energy costs, but how much money you save depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of window attachment. Here are a few types of window treatments for you to consider:
Blinds—Blinds are the most affordable way to control how much sunlight gets into your home. You can find blinds for a relatively low price, but keep in mind that there are many different options available at various price points. When closed, window blinds can reduce solar heat gain by up to 45 percent.
Shades—Shades are another effective solution for saving energy and money. When installed close to the glass and window frame, shades create insulation around that space and prevent heat transfer from occurring.
Curtains—You can use curtains and drapes to prevent sunlight from entering your home as well. With so many different styles and materials available, it’s hard to say for certain how effective curtains are in reducing energy consumption, but we do know that they can cut down on solar heat gain significantly.
Window Awnings—You can reduce sun exposure and solar heat gain by installing window awnings outside your windows as well. Awnings work by providing shade to windows and doors and perform best when installed over windows that face south and west.
Window Films—One of the simplest and most efficient ways to reduce energy consumption is to install window films around your house. Window films are plastic sheets that adhere directly to your windows and are a popular solution for many homeowners because they prevent heat transfer from occurring while still allowing light to come into your home.
You know that insulation can help keep your home warm in the winter, but did you know it can keep your house cool in the summer, too? Insulation helps reduce the heat gain through surfaces such as the wall, attic, duct or roof. A well-insulated home helps prevent cool air from escaping in the summer, which reduces the need to run your AC unit. It’s common for homeowners to not realize that they don’t have enough insulation to prevent the heat from entering their home through the ceilings, walls and floors. Fortunately, by improving your home’s insulation, you can significantly increase the comfort level and help lower your monthly energy bill by up to 20 percent.
Areas to Insulate
There are a variety of areas in and around your home that require insulation to keep your home cool in the summer and warm during the winter months. To improve the comfort level in your home and reduce your energy bills in the summer, we recommend improving the insulation in the following areas:
Attic—A poorly insulated attic can allow heat to pass through relatively easy, resulting in an extreme increase in your utility costs.
Roof—In some cases, it makes more sense to insulate the roof instead of the attic, especially if your attic is filled with stored items. Properly insulating your roof can keep your home comfortable all year long.
Wall and floor—Wall and floor insulation is often forgotten by homeowners, but it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent heat gain and keep temperatures cool inside. The better insulated your home is all around, the less energy your HVAC system is required to use to cool your home.
These are just a few energy-saving ideas to get you started, but there are a variety of other things you can try to reduce your utility costs this summer. Remember to turn ceiling fans and lights off when there’s nobody in the room and keep doors closed to prevent cool from escaping. It also helps to get your AC unit checked to make sure it’s performing as optimally as it should.
To learn more about the energy-efficient products we offer, contact one of our ceiling fan or lighting experts who will be happy to provide you with advice on selecting the right products for your needs.