Colorado’s climate typically includes summers with dry daytime heat and pleasant overnight temperatures. Don’t let that balance fool you, though; customers sometimes see spikes in their summer energy use. A few tips, however, can make energy efficiency a breeze:
• Service your air conditioner early, which will make it run more efficiently during the hotter months of July and August. Also, keep the area around it – at least 2 feet in any direction – free of debris so that it receives adequate air flow, and replace the air filter as recommended.
• Consider purchasing and installing a smart thermostat. Programmable thermostats can save up to 10% on cooling costs when programmed effectively. Some also passively learn the energy-use behaviors and patterns of a home’s occupants and adjust temperatures accordingly.
• Add insulation, which traps cooler air inside your home during the summer. Most homes in IREA’s service territory should have insulation with a resistance rating between R38 and R60.
• Open windows overnight if they are inaccessible from the outside, and turn off your air conditioner. Colorado’s typically mild nights can cool your home as effectively as AC.
• Seal air leaks around doors and windows with caulk or weather-stripping to prevent cold air from escaping and warm air from entering.
• Use a ceiling fan for temporary comfort in individual rooms. The cost to power a ceiling fan is a fraction of multi-room air conditioning. A fan only cools nearby occupants and does not lower the temperature of a room, so be sure to turn it off when no one is in the room.
• Close drapes and shutter blinds – especially those that face south – during daylight hours to reduce solar gain.
• A grill or other outdoor appliance is a good alternative to the kitchen oven, which heats up the kitchen and adjacent spaces, making your AC work harder.
• Use large appliances such as clothes dryers in the morning and early evening hours, when your air conditioner isn’t drawing as much electricity.
Customers who take these and other actions but still have concerns about high energy bills can request a free home energy audit. Our energy efficiency specialist will visit your home and compile important data regarding your heating and cooling systems, energy use patterns and types of electrical appliances and equipment, then provide you a set of additional actions that might reduce your home’s energy use. Visit www.IREA.coop/energy-audits to learn more and schedule an audit.