No, you're not imagining things – it is pretty hot outside. Sweltering, even. During heatwaves, it can be tempting to turn down the AC to arctic levels, but doing so leads a large energy bill at the end of the month and an increased demand on our energy grid, which can result in a widespread blackout.
Before you reach for that AC remote control, consider some of these smart tech tips to optimize energy usage during a heatwave so that you can stay cool, reduce energy demands on the grid, and spend less money on your energy bill.
Use a smart thermostat to regulate temperature
Smart thermostats are "smart" because they connect to your WiFi network and allow you remote control access.
They can also automatically set the temperature based on a schedule, or prior to a heatwave. To conserve the most energy, experts recommend keeping the inside temperature to 78 degrees. 3 – 5% more energy is used for each degree lower than that1. Automating your home's temperature with a smart thermostat helps you avoid costly energy bills. Some good options include the Nest and the Ecobee smart thermostats.
Avoid operating high-energy appliances during peak hours
To keep energy costs low during a heatwave, it's best to avoid using high-energy appliances (even if they are Energy Star certified) during peak hours, which are typically between 9AM and 9PM.
A way to help keep track of this is by using smart plugs to control appliances remotely. The Belkin WeMo Switch can be programmed to turn certain appliances on or off at a specified time.
Change the filters on your HVAC system every 6 months
Filters get dirty, which means the system has to work overtime in order to push out cool air.
Make sure you stay on top of changing the filters so that when a heatwave hits, your HVAC system is not using excess energy to cool down your house.
Check your central cooling duct system for leaks
Up to 20% of cooled air can be lost through leaky or poorly insulated ducts.
The more cooled air you lose, the harder your HVAC system has to work to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Additionally, up to 30% of heating and cooling energy is lost through old windows. Even switching from single-pane to dual-pane windows can save you up to $465 a year, according to a recent Energy Star study2.
A heatwave can really drain your finances if your home isn't optimized for conserving energy. Smart home tech can help you lower your energy usage during a heatwave so that you can make an impact on the environment. By incorporating one or all of these methods, you'll be able to save money on energy bills while also taking some of the strain of the national utility grid when experiencing a heatwave.