Summer Energy Savings

As we enter the last leg of summer, it’s not just the temperatures that are elevated. For the past twelve months for which the US Energy Information Administration has published data, home electricity use has been highest in July and August, and the average monthly cost of that electricity has peaked late summer and early fall. 

Total Sales of Electricity to Ultimate United States Residential Consumers Against Monthly Average Price Per Kilowatthour, June 2015 to May 2016

That this time of year is one of high electricity use and cost may come as no surprise to anyone who’s been wrestling with trying to cool their home during this summer’s historic extreme heat events, such as June’s “heat dome” in the Southwest or July’s heat wave in the capital region. According to the EIA, space cooling accounts for the largest share of electricity use in American residences (followed closely by lighting), and NOAA’s Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index shows that this June, people living in the lower 48 states were using much more energy to adjust the temperature in their homes than they have historically.

Clearly, late summer can turn up the heat in more ways than one, and if you’re not making savvy choices when it comes to your energy use, you and your wallet could be feeling the burn.

According to EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, one way to keep your energy bills in check is by keeping your HVAC system in good condition—starting with your air filters. During the winter and summer when you’re running your heating and cooling system particularly heavily, you should be changing your air filter every month. As dust and debris accumulated in the filter, this particulate matter impedes the flow of air, and as a result your HVAC system has to work harder to push the air through, wasting energy and setting the stage for costly maintenance down the road.  

For more tips on how to conserve energy while staying cool this summer, check out ENERGY STAR’s list of tips for efficient heating and cooling.