Home sales often spike in the summer as temperatures go up – and so does electricity use. But there are ways for owners and renters to make their new homes more energy efficient.
Moving during the summer allows families to settle in before school starts. That’s one reason why Tucson home sales have peaked in June in the past few years, according to the Tucson Association of Realtors.
As a result, new owners and renters often fix up their new homes in mid to late summer. Here are some easy ways to make your new home more energy efficient:
One easy upgrade is lighting, which can account for between 8 and 11 percent of your electric bill.
“If you buy a new home, you should switch out your bulbs within the first couple of months,” said Dan Hogan, Manager of Residential Energy Efficiency Programs and Services for Tucson Electric Power.
TEP offers discounts on LED bulbs at participating retailers. Search for a list of retailers near you.
Replacing traditional bulbs with LEDs can lower your bill dramatically. LEDs use up to 90 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs.
If you don’t want to change out all of your bulbs, you should focus on upgrading the bulbs in the rooms that you use the most, such as the kitchen and living room. New bulbs may not be necessary in other areas, such as closets.
“That will bring the most savings in the long run,” Hogan said.
Many homes also need new appliances, such as refrigerators or dishwashers.
When shopping, look for the logo for ENERGY STAR®, a federal program that helps businesses and individuals save money and improve energy efficiency.
While certified products might have a higher price tag, you can save between 9 and 25 percent on energy costs in the long run.
With heating and cooling accounting for the largest part of energy costs, new homeowners should make sure their units are working properly. Owners should get a tune-up, change their filters and make sure that the fluids are filled.
“If you are low on Freon, you can shorten the life of your system. Improperly charged AC units have shorter life expectancies,” Hogan said.
Another way to keep the house cool is to create shade. Homeowners should focus on adding shades, awnings or low-emissivity windows to their west and south-facing windows.
Planting shade trees also helps in the long term. In September, TEP’s Trees for You program will feature new offerings on discounted trees and varieties. Check back this fall for details on the tree program.