It’s time for another Cap Cana Caribe mission, and our goal is to give you tips on how to cut your electric usage and save money on your energy bill during the hottest days of the year. As much as we love the summer season, we don’t love the way running our air conditioners drives up our expenses. Our ACs are dinosaurs, and not very efficient at all, making you afraid to even open your bill during the summer months. But not anymore! Try using most of the energy savings tips below, and they’ll help you keep your cool and your wallet’s all summer long.

Service your air conditioner. Easy maintenance such as routinely replacing or cleaning air filters can lower your cooling system’s energy consumption by up to 15 percent. Also, the first day of summer could serve as a reminder to check your air conditioner’s evaporator coil, which should be cleaned annually to ensure the system is performing at optimal levels.

Lower your AC. A good rule of thumb when using your AC in the summer is to try to keep it at 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees when you leave your home. Do not turn the unit completely off unless you’re leaving for more than 24 hours. You will be saving one to three percent of your energy bill for every degree higher you set it. Consider using this tactic with energy saving ceiling fans to help keep you cool.

Let a draft flow. One main reason your home begins to heat up is the lack of air circulation. Opening the windows and doors in the early mornings or evenings, when the temperature is still low outside, will allow cool air to move through, letting your home cool itself naturally before the summer heat kicks in. Pair this technique with high-end ceiling fans, desk fans or floor fans and you will not even need your AC on during the first part of the day.

Consider new light bulbs. Our Facts About Energy Efficient Light Bulbs article outlines the different types of energy saving light bulbs, but we want to highlight that when you switch your light bulbs from the old incandescent or halogen flood bulbs to energy saving LED reflector lights(AKA light-emitting diodes) you’re adding to your savings. Switching to LEDs can save you up to 75 percent per bulb. You are saving on your lighting energy usage and your cooling. LEDs do not emit heat like other bulbs. This will help keep your home a few degrees cooler overall. Another way to beat the heat is to replace some of the light fixtures in a room with a ceiling fan with lights.Controllable ceiling fans with lights will cool you down while providing ample lighting for a room.

Block the sun. If a room in your home gets direct exposure to sunlight you’re going to want to keep that heat from entering your home. A wide selection of energy efficient sun blocking curtains are now available at many stores and online. Solar screens, window tinting or shutters are the most efficient way to block the suns heat. They go on the outside of your windows and act as a heat shield for your home. These techniques can help you save up to 20 percent off your energy bill.

Use your green thumb. Find the areas of your home that get the most sun exposure in the summer time and plant your favorite types of trees there. This is not an instant fix, but in a few years shady trees could help save you big time on your home cooling costs. Utilizing these techniques in your home have energy packed savings of 15 percent in the winter and up to 50 percent in the summer.

Caulk air leaks. Using low-cost caulk to seal cracks and openings in your home keeps warm air out — and cash in your wallet.

Use energy saving ceiling fansEnergy Star ceiling fans use the latest technology to save energy.. Ceiling fans are not meant to cool rooms, they are meant to cool people. So, only use the fans when a person is in that room. Having ceiling fans in different parts of your home can significantly save you on your energy bill. It costs between two to seven cents an hour to run a ceiling fan, meanwhile, your air conditioner costs in-between 17 to 30 cents an hour depending on the type/temperature. Even the most expensive ceiling fan versus the cheapest AC unit saves you almost $900 a year.

Consider portable fans. If installing a ceiling fan in your home is not an option for you, consider buying portable desk fans or floor fans.

 No installation necessary and these fans can move from room to room while still saving you up to 65 percent on your cooling costs. As a bonus, many of these fans are extremely stylish.

Switch on bathroom fans. Bathroom fans suck out heat and humidity from your home, improving comfort.

Cook outside. On warmer spring days, keep the heat out of your home by using an outdoor grill instead of indoor ovens.

Choosing the right AC. This is a big one and we know many homes do not get a choice in the matter, but if you do get to choose your AC unit we recommend picking a Energy Star qualified product with a higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER the better the AC will be at saving energy. Sizing and proper installation are key when installing a new AC so pick a high quality technician to help you. Make sure enough room is left for serving your new AC and making sure it’s charged correctly. Over 60 percent of newly installed AC units are charged incorrectly.

Cooling Energy Efficient Anytime

These are some great general tips for keeping an energy efficient home while meeting your cooling needs.

Install, refresh or increase the insulation in your home. This article has a chart that shows the recommended amount of insulation based on the location of your home and gives a lot of tips for installing insulation. Check your insulation every few years to make sure it has not fallen or moved. If you’re in a colder climate consider hiring a contractor to add insulation to your exterior walls. Installing insulation can save you up to 40 percent on your cooling costs.

Use and update your Weather stripping. Weather stripping is so important, especially in older structures. This keeps the cool air inside in the summer and outside in the winter. Weather stripping needs to be applied to all windows and doors in your home. Update your weather stripping if it’s torn or no longer filling the space between your wall and door. Weather stripping can save you between 5 to 15 percent on your energy bill.

Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat will allow you to set the temperature to your individual needs for each day of he week. No more worrying about if you fixed the thermostat before leaving home. This can also be programmed for when you go on vacation. Proper usage of a programmable thermostat can save you up to $150 a year.

Add dimmers into your life. Light dimmers not only help set the mood but they help save energy. These easy to install devices help you use anywhere from 10 to 50 percent less energy on your home lighting. Dimmers can be used with most devices including ceiling fans, floor lamps, desk lamps and various light fixtures.

Check to make sure your ducts are properly sealed. Leaky ducts can raise your energy bill by as much as 20 percent. We recommend hiring professional to help improve your duct work. Look to repair or replace damaged, disconnected or undersized ducts in your home immediately. Make sure to properly seal all leaks with mastic, metal tape, or an aerosol-based sealant. Duct tape is only a temporary solution.

Always keep up with your general system maintenance. Dirt and neglect are the most common causes of cooling systems breaking down. The better you take care of your systems, the longer they last. Below are some suggestions to add to your maintenance.

  1. Tighten all of your electrical connections and measure the voltage and current on your motors.
  2. Apply lubrication to all of the moving parts to your system. You don’t want them to rust and break.
  3. Check your thermostat settings on your cooling systems to make sure it’s turning off and on at the proper temperature.
  4. Inspect your condense drain in your AC to make sure it’s stopped up.
  5. Make sure to check for clogs and clean your air filters.

Consider Energy Star rated windows. When picking out windows for your home look for Energy Star. These windows reduce UV damage to interior fabrics and help control the climate based on your locations climate zone.