San Diego’s weather isn’t quite as hot as you might expect, especially considering that it’s one of California’s southernmost cities right near the border of Mexico. The average temperature during the peak of summer is only about 77 degrees.
However, there are particularly hot days that definitely introduce the need to crank the air conditioning up to the max, and even on normal days the indoor temperature can easily exceed an uncomfortable and stuffy 85 degrees.
Under these conditions, it’s easy to see why so many of the city’s homeowners are taking steps to improve energy efficiency and reduce their electric bills. With that said, here are 12 steps many San Diegan property owners are doing to make their homes more energy efficient:
1. Replacing and Upgrading Windows
The first step in determining whether you need to replace your windows is to check for any minor air drafts coming in or going out, which can be felt by slowly running your hand along the edges. Window replacement companies are booming in San Diego right now, as California’s numerous energy initiatives have prompted many homeowners to begin looking at weatherization services.
If you’re in San Diego and have recently found out that your windows aren’t designed for energy-efficiency, you can find a window replacement company near you by checking the American Vision Windows website, and get that issue squared away in a single day.
2. Replacing Doors
Just as ensuring that the windows are properly sealed is a necessary initial step in your energy optimization efforts, it’s just as important to make sure the doors aren’t letting air in or out. Installing a new door will not only improve your home’s insulation capabilities, it will also drastically enhance the exterior’s aesthetic appeal.
If you’re looking for a way to slightly reduce your energy bills while also making the home’s facade much more attractive, starting with a front door replacement would be your best bet.
3. Installing Solar Panels
San Diego has one of the fastest growing solar installation industries in the country and is regularly ranked as one of the top cities for solar panel system sales. Of course, this will become one of the more expensive projects on this list, but it also provides the greatest return because it means you’ll never have to pay another electricity bill.
In fact, you can have your system routed back into the grid and supply your surplus power to the local utility provider in exchange for a monthly check, so not only will this save you money but it could make you money as well.
4. Upgrading to EnergyStar Certified Appliances
Inefficient appliances can put a huge dent in your annual energy costs by using way more electricity than necessary. Unfortunately, many homes in San Diego still have outdated appliances that desperately need to be upgraded.
This is another relatively expensive investment that might be easier if you take out a small loan to cover the cost of the purchase and install. Of course, the newest EnergyStar appliances aren’t going to be cheap in comparison to their conventional counterparts.
5. Installing Programmable Thermostats
Using an old thermostat that requires you to manually turn it on and off can be a huge waste of energy, especially when you consider how archaic those devices are in comparison to the smart thermostats of today. Installing a thermostat is a simple and cheap way to reduce your air conditioning expenses by up to 10-20% or more.
Plus, anyone who can follow instructions can install one of these themselves without having to pay for professional labor.
6. Adding Extra Insulation
Insulation is obviously one of the most important components that contributes to your home’s overall energy efficiency. Thus, it stands to reason that thickening your existing insulation can help you stabilize your home’s interior environment and therefore reduce the need to run the air conditioning system continuously.
While most homeowners in San Diego opt to have this done by professionals, it is certainly possible to do it yourself with a bit of handy skill and some elbow grease.
7. Improving Lighting Efficiency
Buying new, energy-efficient light bulbs is a fast and affordable step that any homeowner can take to reduce their lighting expenses by 5-25% almost instantly.
The amount of savings you’ll reap will depend on how inefficient your current bulbs are and how much of an improvement the new bulbs will provide. You could also try installing a dimmable system so that you’re not using maximum bulb wattage at all times.
8. Utilize Fans to Reduce A/C Dependency
Ceiling fans and proper ventilation can go a long way in creating a breeze that will let you keep your A/C on the lowest setting without a problem. During the middle of the day and the afternoon when the daily highs start to hit, turning on a few fans might just keep you from having to use your A/C altogether (we’ll provide more advice on how you can actually pull that off in tip #10 below).
9. Let Natural Light in to Reduce Artificial Light Dependency
If your home is dim and gloomy during the day, causing you to rely on indoor lighting when there’s plenty of sunlight outside, you might want to open the blinds or install a skylight to start taking advantages of all those free lumens that are smacking into your house.
San Diego gets plenty of sunlight and cloudy days are relatively rare compared to other cities, so there’s no excuse to leave all that illumination unused.
10. Learn How to Stay Cool without Using the Air Conditioning
As mentioned earlier, the indoor temperatures in San Diego definitely get hot enough to warrant the desire for air conditioning. However, with a bit of creativity, it’s possible to completely avoid the usage of A/C altogether.
Use automated misters and spray bottles to keep your face, neck, and chest wet, and then sit in front of a fan for an extremely effective cooling effect. If you put the fan on a high enough setting, you can quickly go from uncomfortably hot to shiveringly cold in a matter of seconds.
11. Use a Smart Home System
Installing a smart home control panel and smart home devices will give you superior control over your home’s lighting, appliances, windows, security system, and other energy-using components. Plus, there’s no sense in waiting until you’re one of the only homeowners left in San Diego who doesn’t have a smart home.
12. Upgrade Insulation
Earlier we mentioned adding more of your current insulation to improve your home’s weatherization. However, if you’re using an outdated type of insulation, it might be better to have it taken out and replaced with a new kind instead.
Why Not Do All of the Above?
If you’re really trying to make your home as energy efficient as possible, there’s really no reason to choose only one kind of project from the list above. Each of these renovations and replacements are affordable enough that most homeowners can get them done within the course of 6 months to a year without breaking the bank. In fact, some of these tips will cost you little to nothing to implement and can be done in your spare time.