It is officially spring, and summer will be here before we know it. But hotter days means using more energy, and more energy means higher utility bills.

Take a look at these tips from the U.S. Department of Energy to learn how you can save energy and money during the hot weather months:

  1. Keep Cool Air In and Hot Air Out
    • Open the windows and turn off the AC when it’s cool outside
    • Use window coverings to keep heat out during the day.
      • DOE Fact: “In cooling seasons, about 76% of sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters to become heat.”
    • Seal cracks and leaks around windows and doors by applying caulk or weather stripping
  2. Operate Your Thermostat Efficiently
    • When away, keep the house warmer than normal. When home, set the thermostat to the recommended setting of 78°F, or as warm as comfortably possible.
      • DOE Fact: “You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.”
    • Consider installing a programmable thermostat
  3. Use Fans and Ventilation Strategies to Cool Your Home
    • Ceiling fans “will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.” (Don’t forget to turn fans off when you leave the room!)
    • Use bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans to remove heat and humidity
  4. Keep Your Cooling System Running Efficiently
    • Regularly vacuum registers to remove dust and schedule regular maintenance for your cooling equipment
      • DOE Fact: “The quickest way to save energy on home cooling is to regularly clean and replace your cooling unit’s filters.”
    • Don’t place TVs or lamps near the thermostat (it senses their heat) and make sure nothing is blocking the airflow through your registers
  5. Don’t Heat Your Home with Appliances and Lighting
    • Install energy-efficient light bulbs that have earned the Energy Star
      • DOE Fact: “By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $75 each year.”
    • Avoid using appliances that generate heat (especially during the hottest part of the day) including:
      • Oven: Use alternative cooking methods instead, like grilling outside
      • Dishwasher and washing machine: only wash full loads and air-dry dishes and clothes
      • Computers, electronics, curling irons and hair dryers
    • Reduce hot water use: take short showers, not baths
    • Take advantage of natural daylight (but avoid direct sunlight)
  6. Lower Your Water Heating Costs
    • Set your water heater temperature to the recommended setting of 120°F
      • DOE Fact: “Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home.”