Higher temperatures don’t have to mean higher energy bills. Reducing heat and humidity inside your home can help keep you cool and save money on your energy bills as well as reduce health issues such as mold and mildew.
On hot days, you can avoid adding heat to your home by following these simple tips:
- Cook outside on the grill instead of using the oven whenever possible.
- Postpone laundry and dishwashing until the evening when the outside air is cooler.
- Let the dishes air dry in the dishwasher rather than using the drying feature.
Lowering temperatures isn’t the only solution to keeping your home cool during the dog days of summer, reducing humidity will improve comfort and provide health benefits. Humidity is the amount of moisture or water vapor in the air. Indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50% are ideal.
If you notice mold, mildew or musty odors throughout your home, these are signals humidity levels are too high. This can be affected by everyday activities that increase the amount of moisture in the air such as showering, cooking and drying clothes. To reduce sources of moisture you can:
- Ensure that clothes dryers are properly vented to the outdoors. Inspect the vent duct and make sure it is attached securely to the dryer. Check that it is clear of obstructions (e.g. lint). The vent duct should be cleaned at least once a year.
- Use vent fans in bathrooms and kitchens to remove humidity at the source. (ENERGY STAR® certified ventilation fans that include lighting use 70% less energy on average than standard models.)
- Repair leaking outdoor faucets. Not only will this help reduce humidity, but it will also save you money on your water bills.
In addition to avoiding activities that can warm up your home, you can also perform activities that add shade to block out summer sunlight during the hottest parts of the day:
- Close the blinds and curtains on the south and west facing windows.
- Plant trees to shade windows or move container trees and plants in front of windows.
- Shade your air conditioner, too. Direct sunshine on the heat exchanger decreases its efficiency. A well-placed tree or awning will shade and protect the unit.
“Warm weather doesn’t mean your comfort, health and energy bills have to suffer,” says Kimberly Huffman, principal marketing analyst, DTE Energy. “Taking a few simple steps can help keep you cool and you can also see the benefits on your energy bill.”
For more tips to help you manage your energy use, visit dteenergy.com/summer.