Summer Conservation Tips - Residential

Photo of air conditioner and maintenance check

As temperatures in Southwestern Ontario increase and air conditioners start to hum, it’s a good time of year to be aware of your home’s energy consumption patterns before your monthly electricity bill arrives. Here are a few tips that you can perform around your home to help you conserve energy throughout the hot summer months.

Close Your Doors and Windows
Photo of a person closing a window

Make sure that doors and windows are closed while the AC is running. It’s easy to forget that a window or sliding door might be open, allowing cool air to escape. 

Turning up your AC one or two degrees can save between 10-20% on your energy costs.

Rely On Your Fans
Photo of a ceiling fan

A ceiling fan draws minimal energy to help cool a home. Ceiling fans only use 50 watts of energy on average while circulating cool air and helping your air conditioner work efficiently. Install ceiling fans in well-used rooms such as bedrooms, home offices or kitchens. Using the fans will allow you to set the AC a bit higher and use less energy in the long run. 

Did you know that Energy Star-rated ceiling fans allow you to reverse the direction of the blades and airflow counterclockwise - forcing cool air downward so you can keep the house cool.

Utilizing Bathroom and Kitchen Exhaust Fans
Photo of a kitchen stove range with exhaust fan

Run your bathroom fans after taking a shower or bathing as it will draw out the warm air and humidity from the room.

Use your kitchen exhaust fan to draw out the heat created by your stove and keep your kitchen cool. Using your exhaust fans will give your AC a break and save you energy.

Draw Your Blinds or Curtains
Photo of person shutting blinds

Closing your curtains and drawing blinds during the day will help keep your rooms cooler and allow the AC and ceiling fans to work more efficiently.

Plant Some Shrubs and Trees 
Photo of children running through the sprinkler

Add trees or shrubs to your outdoor space to keep your yard and home cooler during the summer season. Plant trees and shrubs on the west side of the house to keep out the intense heat of the afternoon sun with natural shade.

Solar Powered Decorative Outdoor Lights 
Photo of solar powered garden lights

Solar-powered lights use solar cells to convert natural sunlight into electricity. After the initial cost of purchasing solar lights, you will save energy and money by relying on the sun’s renewable energy to light up your garden or walkways.

Pool Pumps 
Photo of a pool pump

Place a timer on your pool pump or consider upgrading your pool pump to an Energy Star-certified unit so you can shift its use to off-peak hours when Time-of-Use rates are cheaper.

Eliminate Drafts In Your Home
Photo of person applying weatherstripping to window

Weatherstripping your windows and doors is a cost-effective way to ensure that cool air doesn’t escape your home along with your hard-earned money. Check for drafts by placing tissue paper close to the door or window crevice on all four sides of the frame. If the tissue starts to fly away, you may have a draft. Use caulk to seal cracks and crevices. A multitude of weatherstripping and caulking materials exist and are available at your local supply store, but it’s always good to bring a sample of your current weatherstripping with you so you can get the right replacement from an expert.

Use Cold Water to Wash Clothes
Photo of a person loading clothes into the washing machine

Using a cold water wash and rinse cycle will ensure that you are using less energy to clean the laundry. Invest in cold water wash laundry detergents. 

Air Dry Laundry
Photo of clothes dryer ECO setting

Clothes dryers are one of the largest energy-consuming appliances in your home, so avoiding their use during the summer and using a clothesline to dry your clothes will save you energy and money. If you have a new appliance, use the ECO setting when drying clothes.

Avoid Using the Oven
Photo of family enjoying an outdoor barbecue

If you want to save energy, avoid using the oven as it will heat your home unnecessarily and make your AC work overtime. There is nothing cooler or more delicious than eating a barbecued summer meal with family and friends. If you don’t have a grill, cook with a microwave, air fryer, or toaster oven, or eat a meal that doesn’t require heating, such as sandwiches, or salads. 

Don’t peek in the oven when something is cooking. Opening the oven door can waste up to 20% of the oven’s heat and make your AC work overtime.

Air Dry Dishes in Your Dishwasher
Photo of Eco dry setting on a dishwasher

Air drying your dishes after they have been washed in the dishwasher can save you up to 15% of the energy it would take to dry them through the dishwasher’s heated drying cycle. Open the dishwasher door after they are washed and let them dry naturally, or use the dishwasher’s “Air Dry” feature if it’s available.

Reduce Standby Power or “Phantom Load”
Photo of an energy saving power bar

All of those blinking, lighted gadgets and remotes that glow in the dark in standby mode are slowly drawing power that can account for 10% of your electricity bill. Consider plugging your standby gadgets into smart power bars with timers that you can shift to off-peak hours when electricity rates are cheaper. Unplug rarely used devices completely. 

Smart Thermostats
Photo of a smart thermostat

A Smart Thermostat is a Wi-Fi-enabled device that automatically adjusts the heating/cooling temperature settings in your home. A smart thermostat will learn your energy patterns, such as which rooms you spend the most time in and adjust the temperature accordingly. Wi-fi-enabled thermostats allow you to control your thermostat remotely from the convenience of a smartphone.

Investing in a smart thermostat is a big decision as it can range in cost from $50-$600 and has to be compatible with your home’s heating and cooling systems. Energy Star-certified smart thermostats have gone through a rigorous testing process based on multiple customer data sources that ensure they significantly help increase energy efficiency. 

Thermostat settings can be customized to suit your schedule and will increase the temperature when you are away from home and lower it when you return.

Ensure Proper Ventilation In Your Attic 
Photo of attic insulation

Hot air can get easily trapped in a poorly ventilated attic. If you have the time and the budget, schedule an inspection with an energy professional to look at your attic’s ventilation system and help make your home energy efficient.

Additional Energy Conservation Resources