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S. Puget Sound Summer Guide: Energy Efficiency at Home

Aaron Thomas

Aaron’s passion for his kids and wife show in all he does...

Aaron’s passion for his kids and wife show in all he does...

Jun 10 1 minutes read

As residents of the South Puget Sound region, we’re no strangers to the shifting whims of Mother Nature—balmy, picturesque summers included. With temperatures edging up, it’s natural to worry about the comfort of our homes and the spike in energy bills. Fear not, for with a little foresight and some clever tweaks, you can maintain an oasis of cool without draining your wallet. Let’s dive into some region-specific strategies:

1. Battle the Breeze (Or Lack Thereof)

In our neck of the woods, sealing gaps around your home before summer can really pay off. The unpredictable South Puget Sound breezes mean you'll want every bit of cool air to stay inside. Use weather-stripping around windows and doors as a low-cost but effective fix to keep your home cozy and efficient.

2. Insulation Isn’t Just for Winters

Remember, insulation is a year-round affair. It’s as much about keeping the heat out in summer as it is about keeping it in during winter. Check the insulation in your attic and walls. In areas like Olympia, Tacoma, and the surrounding locales, upgrading your insulation can make a massive difference in combating those direct sunbeams.

3. Smart Appliance Choices

Old appliances can be energy hogs. When it's time for an upgrade, aim for ENERGY STAR-certified options. Not only are they better for the planet—something we in the environmentally-conscious South Puget Sound care deeply about—but they’ll also lighten the load on your energy bill during those peak cooling months.

4. Natural Ventilation Is Your Friend

Make the most of the cooler evenings and mornings. Unlike some of our neighbors to the east, we often enjoy cool breezes off the Sound. Use this to your advantage with strategic window opening, promoting cross-ventilation that can drastically reduce your reliance on air conditioning.

5. Window Treatments for the Win

Keep the sun at bay with light-colored curtains or blinds, which can reflect heat and help maintain a cooler interior. This is especially crucial for homes in Lacey, Gig Harbor, and Puyallup, where the sun can be relentless during the peak summer months.

6. Thermostat Throttle

Utilizing a programmable thermostat can lead to significant savings, allowing for temperature adjustments to match your schedule. In our area, keeping your home around 78°F when occupied strikes the right balance between comfort and efficiency.

7. Regular HVAC Upkeep

Scheduling that annual HVAC system check-up before the summer rush ensures you won’t be caught off guard by a heatwave. Likewise, regular filter changes can extend the life of your system and keep it running smoothly, a must in our fluctuating South Puget Sound climate.

8. Consider Energy-Efficient Windows

Investing in low-E windows can significantly cut down on heat transfer, a boon during our surprisingly warm summers. While the initial investment might be higher, the reduction in your energy bills—as well as increased comfort—is worth it over time, particularly in sunshine-heavy areas like Steilacoom and Bonney Lake.

9. Fan the Flames of Efficiency

Ceiling fans are an energy-efficient way to support your air conditioning, especially in bedrooms or common areas where cool air circulation is key. Plus, they lend a certain charm to a room’s aesthetic—a small but pleasant bonus.

10. Use Nature’s Sunscreen

Strategically planted trees can be a game-changer for reducing heat inside your home. Native species like Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar not only provide shade but also add to the natural beauty of our region. Consider awnings for immediate effect, with the added perk of enhancing your outdoor living spaces.

By following these tailored tips, you can navigate the South Puget Sound summer with ease, maintaining a comfortable and efficient home. Remember, staying cool doesn’t require a compromise on sustainability or comfort—with a bit of local know-how and some proactive steps, you can enjoy the best of our beautiful summers without fear of the next energy bill.

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