You are just getting used to life
without the high cost of winter heating when those summertime electricity bills start landing at your door. There is no avoiding it, temperature control uses electricity and costs money. We all know that using less electricity helps both our wallets and the environment, but many people fear making their home more energy efficient will cost more in upgrades than it will save them. Thankfully, saving energy and money doesn’t have to involve expensive new energy-saving technology. There are many simple, low-cost ways to cut your energy costs and keep your house cool. Here are some easy tips and strategies to help you save on energy this summer.
Tip 1: Free Cooling
Whether you rely on air conditioning, fans, or popsicles to keep cool during the summer, there are lots of quick and easy ways to save money on energy costs. Mother Nature can provide free cooling to your home this summer. Use your window blinds during the hottest part of the day to prevent the sun from beating into your house. Remember to open your windows when there is cooler air during the evenings. A nice cross-breeze is a free and natural way to cool down your house. Take advantage of plants. Deciduous trees planted along the south and west sides of your house keep you in the shade and cool all summer, and still allow the sun to warm you during the winter.
Tip 2: Smarter Air Conditioning
You don’t need to leave the air conditioning on full blast when you are away during the day. Try setting your thermostat up a few degrees before you go to work, and returning it to normal when you get home. Better yet, install a timer to adjust the temperature automatically, and that way your air conditioning can come back on before you get home. Regular maintenance of your cooling technology saves you money by prolonging equipment life and keeping it working efficiently. Make sure your air conditioner is kept clean and charged with refrigerant, and regularly change the filters in your fans.
Tip 3: Appliance Tricks
Saving energy and money on your appliances can be as simple as turning them off. Get in the habit of turning off the TV, DVD player, video games, and computer when you aren’t using them. Many environmental websites carry stickers you can put near light switches to remind yourself to turn lights and electronics off. Also, think before you turn something on. There are many ways to get great results with less power. Try hanging your clothes on a line until they are nearly dry, then put them in the dryer for 10 minutes. That way you save electricity and still get clothes that aren’t stiff or marked by the line. Keeping your refrigerator full helps it keep cool easier and uses less power.
Tip 4: Go Unplugged
Just because an appliance is off doesn’t mean it’s not draining power. Don’t leave your cell phone or iPod in its charger longer than it needs to recharge. Try to unplug everything when you go away on vacation. Many appliances still drain substantial power even when not in use, especially older models. There is need to throw away everything you own. Just keep in mind when buying a new appliance to look for the energy star label. Models earning this label will save on operating costs in the future.
Tip 5: Smart Lighting
When it comes to saving power and money on lighting, less is more. Use low-wattage and low-voltage bulbs for household lighting in non-living areas, such as outdoor lights and in the garage. Inside, try to use smaller, more direct lighting sources, including desk lamps or reading lights, instead of lots of overhead lighting. Next time you need light bulbs, get compact fluroescent bulbs or Halogen lights, as they use much less electricity then incandescent bulbs. Even though these bulbs are more expensive per bulb, they last many times longer. Buy them in packs when they go on sale and keep them on hand to save more money.
Tip 6: Insulate
Insulation is an important part of any home cooling plan. Just as insulation keeps warm air in and cold air out through the winter, insulation keeps the hot air out and cool air in during the summer. Ask the staff at your local hardware store about cheap and simple insulation solutions. Even weather stripping doors and windows can result in big energy savings.
Tip 7: Be Quick in the Kitchen
In a summer kitchen, the key is speed. Use the microwave and pressure cooker whenever possible. These appliances use the least power. Also, make sure to thaw food thoroughly before cooking. When you do use the stove or oven, planning will save power and money. Keep an eye on the forecast and plan to cook more than you need on cooler days, and freeze your extra food. Then, on hot days, use the microwave for quick, convenient dinners that don’t heat up the whole house. When you bake, try to put multiple items in the oven at once, to shorten the overall time the oven is on.
Tip 8: Get Outside!
A picnic is the perfect way to save energy this summer. Grilling does not use electricity and doesn’t heat up your kitchen. Fruits, pasta salads, and ice cream help everyone keep cool. Time spent outside, with family and friends, is time you are not using electricity inside. So unplug the TV, turn off the lights, pack up a picnic, and head outside to keep cool.