Essential Energy Saving Tips to Follow This Summer
For many people, the bright, sunny and warm summer is just a reward for enduring the bleakness of winter. As the temperature begins to rise we venture back outdoors into the fresh air and being cosy is no longer a priority.
But, it’s a long, hot summer and as the temperature continues to build up we often retreat indoors again, this time to hide from the heat – which means turning on our fans and cursing ourselves for not installing air conditioning.
With the cost of living crisis and a need to reduce our carbon footprints, however, we must also keep an eye on our energy consumption. So here are some essential tips to help you save energy this summer.
Keeping doors and windows closed
Keeping your doors and windows closed is one of the simplest ways to improve energy efficiency in your home during summer, even if it might feel counterintuitive. Opening doors or windows creates pathways for the escape of cool or conditioned air from your home, and allows warm air inside.
Insulating and sealing your home
Having good insulation and sealing any drafts or air leaks in your home is important for improving energy efficiency during both winter and summer. Insulation helps prevent unwanted heat transfer while sealing drafts prevents conditioned air from escaping and external hot air from entering.
Protective measures like loft insulation, double glazing and weatherstripping can help make a real difference to the comfort and efficiency of your space. Loft insulation alone can save up to £315 per year on energy bills. Add weatherstripping around doors and windows, seal utility openings and fix any holes in exterior siding or brickwork.
Upgrade windows and doors
Consider double or triple glazing windows which provide an extra barrier against heat flow. Double glazing can cut heat loss through windows by 50% compared to single glazing. While the upfront cost is high, the energy savings can be significant depending on your existing windows.
For larger openings like garage doors, upgrading your insulation or replacing old and ineffective doors provides solutions for reducing energy consumption and improving the performance of existing doors or replacing damaged ones. Upgrading older leaky doors to modern insulated models can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs.
Closing your blinds
Even when closed, windows are a major source of heat gain in summer, allowing hot temperatures and solar energy to pass through into your living spaces. By blocking sunlight and heat with window coverings, you can help your home stay cooler to maintain comfort.
Close all blinds, curtains and shutters on windows facing the sun, especially on south and west-facing facades which receive the most solar exposure during peak summer hours. As the sun moves across the sky, adjust window coverings to block incoming rays.
While blocking sunlight during the day is important for cooling, opening window coverings at night can help with nighttime ventilation and cooling. When temperatures drop in the evening, open blinds and turn on fans to naturally ventilate and cool your home.
Drying clothes outside
On hot summer days, drying your clothes outside in the sun instead of in a tumble dryer helps reduce your energy consumption and lower utility bills.
Tumble dryers can be energy intensive, using a lot of power to heat and circulate the air needed to dry clothing. Letting the sun naturally dry your clothes is an eco-friendly option that is easy on the environment and your wallet.
Turning down the thermostat and giving your boiler a break
Turning down the thermostat setting, even by just a few degrees, can help lower energy usage and reduce your summer energy bills. Each degree lower you set the thermostat can make a substantial difference in the amount of power used.
Lower the thermostat to the highest comfortable setting for your needs, around 20-22°C for most homes. You can save approximately 10% for every degree lower you set the thermostat, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Find the sweet spot temperature you can live with for maximum efficiency and cost savings.
Similarly, turning your boiler off completely when heating is not needed during summer will prevent it from cycling on unnecessarily, saving energy and money. Boilers commonly fire up periodically during summer for maintenance even when the heating is off, using small amounts of energy each time.
Using fans effectively
Fans can help keep air circulating during warm times, which cools your skin and makes the ambient temperature feel lower than it is. Using fans properly is key to staying comfortable for less cost and energy usage.
The downward airflow and wind chill effect from ceiling fans will make the temperature feel several degrees cooler than without a fan. Pedestal fans should be set to higher speeds, and angled up towards the ceiling to keep air moving in occupied areas of the room.
You can make use of ceiling fans in combination with open windows for natural ventilation and cooling. The airflow from fans will help pull cooler outdoor air inside while pushing warmer indoor air out for an energy-efficient cooling method that costs nothing to operate. Using fans for night cooling can often eliminate the need for air conditioning.
Being smart with water
Reducing water usage also contributes to lower energy bills in summer. Take shorter showers to minimise the amount of hot water used, limiting your shower time to 5-8 minutes or less. Installing a water-efficient shower head can also help reduce the flow rate. Only run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine using their eco settings to save energy and water.
Check toilets for any leaks and ensure the cistern is operating properly. Consider replacing older toilets with a modern water-efficient dual flush model to minimise water usage per flush. Even a small leak can waste significant amounts over time, so fixing any issues promptly helps.
Collect rainwater in water butts for garden use and outdoor tasks like washing cars. Rainwater harvesting reduces the need to use treated mains water and lowers water bills.
Save energy this summer
There are many ways you can stay cool but continue to save energy. Reduce the amount of heat that comes in through insulation, better windows and blinds to lower your water consumption and make use of the natural temperature to dry your clothes. These energy-saving tips can help you reduce your impact.