5 Ways to Conserve Energy & Beat the Summer Heat

Amanda Gassé for Zondits, July 7, 2015. Image credit: SilviaEmilie

Summer is notorious for escalated energy consumption, which also increases the likelihood of summer blackouts. Whether you are running your air conditioner more often or using more electricity to keep your pool clean, these energy saving tips will keep you cool, and keep extra money in your pocket for trips to the ice cream stand. We may not be able to control the weather, but here at Zondits we want to help make this a better, more comfortable summer.

1. Install an Advanced Thermostat

Google & nest-thermostat

Announced on the official Nest blog earlier this week, the smart thermostat company is rolling out a software update that adjusts the Nest thermostat accordingly when being heated up in direct sunlight. Basically, the new software utilizes the Nest’s built-in light sensor to detect direct sunlight and will modify the thermostat’s behavior accordingly. Calling the feature Sunblock, this is ideal for homes where the Nest thermostat is mounted directly in the path of a conduit of direct sunlight like a large window or skylight.

Rather than starting up the home’s cooling system when direct sunlight starts heating up the Nest thermostat, the air conditioning will remain off in order to save the homeowner money during the summer.

2. See If You Qualify for Rush Hour Rewards

Energy rush hours are like traffic rush hours. Just as traffic clogs up roads when everyone drives home at the same time, energy rush hours occur when everyone in a particular area turns on air conditioning (AC) at once.

Energy rush hours typically happen on very hot summer days – usually about 8-12 times a year. Because there’s only so much electricity to go around, these rush hours can lead to brownouts, or even outages. To keep up with demand, utilities need to bring additional power plants online that sometimes use dirtier energy. If things get really bad, they may even start building new power plants.

So it’s actually better for the utilities to pay their customers to use less energy during rush hours. Rush Hour Rewards automatically helps you earn the biggest payments while still keeping you comfortable.

3. Put Your Pool on an Energy Diet

conserve energy summer

A pool filter pump is often one of the larger users of electrical energy at a home.   You can save energy and money by reducing the operating time of the filter pump.

Reduce filter operating times to no less than four to five  hours per day during the summer and two to three  hours per day during the winter period. This will reduce annual electrical consumption by 40 to 50 percent. Normal and heavier swimming use may require as much as eight or more hours filtration per day. Should water clarity or chemical imbalance indicate inadequate filtration, immediately operate the filter until acceptable water clarity has again been established. If additional filtration is still indicated, increase filter operating time in one-half-hour increments until the water remains clear and properly balanced chemically. When the pool is being heavily used, it is recommended that the pool be operated manually and that the filtration system be run under such conditions. Under no circumstances should the water quality of any swimming pool be so poor that the main drain cover is not clearly visible from the deck.

4. Install Smart Plugs in Your Home

Bert is your solution for saving energy and pays for itself in 6 to 12 months! Interested in calculating how much energy YOU can save by turning equipment on and off with a BERT smart plug? Just try our energy savings calculator below.

See how you can save money on your energy bill and reduce your carbon footprint by improving control over your energy-using equipment.  Simply plug in the energy use, the price you pay per kWh for electricity, and the number of hours you expect to have the equipment off, and the calculator will show you how much money and carbon you will save!

5. Unplug Vampire Electronics

save energy summer

If you want an idea of what your home’s wasted electricity looks like, Duke Energy has an Energy Slayer Calculator. Just tell it what gadgets you have and it will give you an estimate of how much energy those gadgets are wasting. You’ll be surprised.

By themseves, those watts won’t cause a huge increase in your energy bill. But if you add other common devices to the equation, you’ll begin to see why energy vampires are often responsible for adding 10 percent or more to your monthly utility bill.

With the average American household owning 25 consumer electronic devices, you can begin to see how these phantom loads can translate into a significant chunk of your energy bill. You don’t have to succumb, though, as there are several simple and convenient strategies that will help you drive a stake through these energy vampires.