Published on October 9th, 2014 | by Peter Young


5 Energy Saving Tips To Beat The Heat


Everyone knows how uncomfortable it can be to be stuck in a hot car, classroom, or home in the middle of a heat wave…it’s pretty tough! Fortunately, beating the heat and providing yourself with a cool, comfortable environment doesn’t have to be synonymous with spending money and using lots of energy. Just try implementing some of these energy saving tips to help you beat the heat and spend less to do so.

1. Keep heat generating activities outside if possible

Activities like cooking and laundry will add ambient heat to your home, and thus cause your home’s A/C to work harder, making that hot lunch a double whammy on your monthly electric bill. For instance, you could BBQ/cook outside in the summer, start to cold brew your coffee or make overnight oats for breakfast.

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The summer is the perfect time to swap all incandescents for LEDs, as, as we’ve mentioned before, 90% of the energy used to create light with an incandescent bulb actually is wasted and creates heat instead.

2. Fans cool people not rooms

Fans are a great way to beat the heat, but they don’t actually cool your room, they cool people by what is known as the “wind chill effect”. As the breeze passes over your skin it takes moisture with it as it evaporates, thus causing you to feel cooler. However, if you leave a fan on when people aren’t in the room, you’re actually making it hotter in there. So turn ‘em off unless you’re right there to enjoy them!

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Let’s take a closer look at how much money this could save you: According to HECO the average ceiling or oscillating fan both use 100w per hour. If you were to run your fans all day every day for an entire year that’s (100w x 24hrs x 365days / 1,000 = 876kWh per year) when you factor in the cost per kWh ($.3438) that’s an annual operating cost of $301.17. Compare that to the cost of only running your fans for 8hrs a day (100w x 8hrs x 365days / 1000 = 292kWh per year) or $100.39. Meaning you could save upwards of $200.78 per year!

Some fans come with the ability to change their rotation direction. If so, you can change their direction depending on the season. In the summer, you want to have the fans creating a draft of air coming down into the living space–this will create the wind chill effect on your skin and make you feel cooler. In the winter, simply reverse the direction of the fan blades so that they pull air up from the living space and circulates the warmer ceiling air down into the living space.

3. Keep heat away from your thermostat

Your thermostat continually measures the temperature of the room it’s in relative to the temperature setting on the thermostat itself. If the room is warmer than the setting on your thermostat, your A/C kicks on to cool the room. However, if there are objects near the thermostat that give off heat it could cause it to have a false reading, which in turn will cause your A/C to work harder, use more energy and cost you more money. 

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4. Orientate your blinds to properly deflect the sun

One of the best ways to keep your home cool on a hot day is to prevent the heat from the sun’s rays from entering it in the first place. By properly orientating your blinds you limit the amount of heat entering your home. While you’re thinking about it, if you live in a hotter climate, maybe plant a shade tree outside the windows where you get the worst of the afternoon sun.

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5. Be sure your windows and doors are properly sealed

One of the best ways to ensure your home’s A/C system is working efficiently is to check your doors and windows for drafts. Drafts in your home’s doors and windows will allow warm outside air into your home while simultaneously allowing the cold air generated by your A/C system to escape. Check your seals on a regular basis to ensure that your system isn’t working harder than it has to.

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If you’re unsure of how exactly to go about checking your seals, read this article on how to check for air leaks around your doors and windows. Want more ways to save energy and money around your home? Check out some of our green home improvement projects: Green Living Ideas, after all, is a top 20 home improvement website!

The following photos are courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons (Weather Forecast, food grilling, fan, thermostat, blinds and windows) and Pono Home.

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About the Author

graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a degree in journalism and has made sustainability and eco-conscious living mainstays of both his professional and personal life. It was during his time at PLU that he began his journey with sustainability and it's what has led him to writing for Green Living Ideas. He currently resides in Honolulu and works for Pono Home, an energy efficiency company focused on reducing carbon emissions and promoting a healthier, greener lifestyle.

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