Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 2:48 am | Fair 60º


6 Ways to Beat the Summer Heat While Reducing Your Home’s Footprint

Temperatures are on the rise and summer is just around the corner, but you won’t have to keep your home’s air conditioning unit cranked up throughout the coming months just to stay cool.

With a few tips from the county’s emPower program, you’ll be able to beat the heat, all while conserving energy and creating a more comfortable and healthier home. 

1. Seal Leaks

Plugging up the cracks in your home is an important step in improving energy efficiency. Small crevices and gaps often found in or around windows, doors and walls can add up to a hula-hoop size hole in a home, allowing warm air and allergens to slip inside.

You can grab a caulking gun to seal some yourself, but to get them all — including the ones you can’t see — emPower can help connect you with a qualified local contractor.   

2. Replace or Seal Air Ducts

It’s OK to switch on your air conditioner now and then when it’s really cooking outside, but you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most out of the energy you use.

Making sure your ducts are properly sealed, insulated and installed can improve the efficiency of a central air conditioning unit by 20 percent.

You can start by sealing and connecting seems with mastic duct sealant or metal-backed tape. A qualified contractor can help you take the project further. 

3. Upgrade Your AC Unit

It may also be time to upgrade to a new ENERGY STAR certified central air conditioner. Replacing that old AC unit you’ve been using since the ’80s could cut your cooling bill in half.

4. Switch on a Ceiling Fan

Using an ENERGY STAR ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees without a reduction in comfort.

However, fans cool people, not rooms. Make sure to turn the fan off when you leave the room.

5. Open Windows at Night

For those cool nights, you can save some energy by shutting off the air conditioner and leaving a window open while you sleep.

When you wake up in the morning, shut the windows and blinds to keep the cool air inside.

6. Light Homes With LEDs

Replacing old incandescent lightbulbs with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will not only save energy but will also help keep the home cooler.

Only about 10-15 percent of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light — the rest is turned into heat. LEDs also use 70-90 percent less energy and can last 25 times longer, so you won’t have to replace them as often.

Small changes can go a long way toward making your home healthier and more comfortable this summer, and there’s plenty emPower can do to help if you’re interested in tackling a bigger project.

You can sign up for a free home energy site visit from an emPower energy coach for help identifying issues like leaky ducts, drafty windows and poorly installed insulation.

emPower can also connect you with local contractors who are well qualified to take care of these troubles and can make a project like installing a new air conditioner a breeze, figuratively and literally.

emPower can also lend you a hand in obtaining utility incentives and low-interest unsecured financing. For more information, visit

Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing emPower.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Cimme Eordanidis
Cimme Eordanidis
"Since I truly enjoy doing what I do, interacting with people and representing them during one of life's most exciting events is very rewarding."

Full Profile >