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Hot tips for summer energy savings

Seasonal Updated: July 29, 2021

Cool down this summer with these energy saving tips

Many of us experience added energy costs in the summer when trying to keep our homes cool. Whether we’re turning on the air conditioner, doing extra loads of laundry or using our electronics more with the kids home, it all adds up. We’ve put together a list of simple steps anyone can take to stay comfortable and reduce summer utility bills.

See below for our list of energy-saving tips that will work for the whole state, plus some specific to your region of Oregon.

Statewide

  1. If you have a ceiling fan, set it to turn counterclockwise to keep air circulating downward to maintain a breeze indoors.
  2. During the day, close your windows and close the blinds, shades or curtains to keep heat outside. Light-colored window coverings help reflect heat away.
  3. When temperatures drop at night or early in the morning, open your windows and doors and use exchange fans to draw cooler air in.
  4. If you have central air conditioning installed in your home, add weather stripping around drafty doors and windows to make sure cool air isn’t escaping.
  5. If you have room air conditioning unit(s) installed in windows of your home, ensure all gaps around the units are sealed tight to prevent cool air from escaping.
  6. Appliances create heat when they’re on. Wait until you have a full load to run your clothes washer and dishwasher, and run them in the evening when it’s cooler.

Eastern Oregon

  1. If you don’t have air conditioning, try evaporative cooling to help maintain a good balance of humidity.
  2. Plant shade trees on the sunniest sides of your home, especially if you live in a relatively open, flat area.
  3. If wildfire smoke is a concern, make sure to keep windows closed and avoid using window air conditioning units. Instead, consider a central air conditioner or evaporative cooler. See other tips for wildfire season.
  4. Check and replace your air conditioner filters regularly, especially if wildfire smoke is prevalent in your area.
  5. Add water savings into your routine by using low-flow showerheads and fixtures, and consider an ENERGY STAR® washing machine to save even more water and energy.

Northwest Oregon and Portland Metro

  1. If you rent your home, consider adding drop shades on your west and south-facing windows and make sure to have them drawn during the hottest parts of the day.
  2. Skip the oven and spend more time grilling outside this summer. You’ll become an expert grill master and you’ll save energy by keeping your home cooler.
  3. Fans are your friends. Use a window fan on the shady side of your house to pull cool air in, and a second fan on the opposite side to blow hot air out.
  4. If you live on the coast, salty air can shorten the lifespan of your HVAC system if you have a heat pump or air conditioner. Check your outdoor unit to see if it needs maintenance or repair to ensure it functions properly when needed for cooling.
  5. If you have a pool, make sure to cover it or use a thermal blanket to reduce energy costs when it isn’t being used.

Southwest Oregon

  1. Plant shade trees on the sunniest sides of your home, especially if you live in a relatively open, flat area.
  2. If wildfire smoke is a concern, make sure to keep windows closed and avoid using window air conditioning units. Instead, consider a central air conditioner or evaporative cooler.
  3. Check and replace your air conditioner filters regularly, especially if wildfire smoke is prevalent in your area. See other tips for wildfire season.
  4. Though it might feel good to blast the AC, it also raises utility bills. Save by setting the temperature to 72–75° F when you’re home and a few degrees higher when away. A smart thermostat can make these adjustments automatically by learning your preferences. You can also use a ceiling fan to circulate cool air so you don’t have to set the temperature as low.
  5. Check your fridge and freezer doors to make sure they seal tightly and keep cold air in. If you see gaps or the seal is loose, you may need to replace the gasket to avoid losing energy and money needlessly.