Summer is supposed to be a relaxing, low-key time, but it’s hard to unwind when you’re worried about your home’s high energy costs. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help minimize the energy your household uses during warm weather months. If you’d rather spend your budget on fun-in-the-sun activities than on utility bills, make note of these amazing energy conservation tips to lower your electricity bill.
1. Use ceiling fans to help cool your roomRaise your thermostat a few degrees and use ceiling fans to cool rooms as much as possible. Ceiling fans use less electricity than air conditioners and are comfortable ways to keep air moving in your home. If you received a tax refund this year, you might want to consider using it to purchase ceiling fans for your living spaces and bedrooms to help minimize the energy that you need to keep your home a comfortable temperature during hotter months. Ceiling fans come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and styles to match virtually any décor. Be sure to look for ceiling fans with the ENERGY STAR certification.
2. Use off peak energy on your appliancesUse off peak energy as much as possible for tasks like running the dishwasher and washing and drying clothes. Check with your local utility company to see if they offer discounted rates for off peak hours and when those rates apply.
3. Plan no cook dinners for hot daysPlan to have no-cook dinners several times a week. In addition to saving the energy that your stove or oven will use, you’ll also avoid heating up the kitchen and making your air conditioner work harder. There are many easy, nutritional dinners that don’t require cooking. All of which are great choices:
• Green salads
• pasta salads
• fruit plates
Even some chicken and meat dishes are good served cold. Who wants to eat a big, heavy meal when it’s hot outside anyway?
4. Use a thermostat-controlled attic fanIf you have an attic, consider installing a thermostat-controlled attic fan to help keep your entire house cooler. With sunlight beating down on the roof and heat rising from below, the temperature in attics can rise very quickly in the summer. An attic fan can help cool the space as well as the rooms below.
5. Maintain your air conditioning unitFor peak efficiency, it’s important to keep your exterior air conditioning unit well maintained. Remove any leaves, twigs, or debris from around the unit, and clean the coils regularly. Change your air conditioning system filters per manufacturer’s instructions to keep energy use to a minimum.
6. Clean your freezer coilsIf you have a freezer, remember that it has to work harder during warm weather months to maintain the correct temperature for frozen foods. Keep the coils clean to help it run efficiently, and check the gaskets to make sure the seal is maintained and the unit isn’t leaking cold air. Also, check to see if there is sufficient clearance room around the freezer for air to properly circulate.
7. Take energy conservation measurements before leaving the houseBefore you leave on vacation, take some steps to conserve energy use while you are gone.
• Raise your thermostat, and unplug any appliances or electronics that won’t be in use while you’re away.
• Even small appliances and electronics like microwaves and television sets may continue to draw energy if they remain plugged in although they are turned off.
• Remember to set your water heater to “low” or to turn down the temperature while you are away as well.
• Put lamps and lights on timers instead of leaving them on the entire time.
• Close curtains and blinds to keep the warm sunlight out.
8. Use your bathrooms ventilating fanWhen you take a shower or a bath in the summer, turn on the bathroom ventilating fan to remove heat and humidity and to help save on cooling costs.
9. Line dry your clothingTake advantage of the warm weather to line dry clothes and linens instead of using energy to run the clothes dryer. In addition to saving electricity, you’ll save dryer wear and tear on the fabrics.
10. Learn alternative eco-friendly methods to reduce energy costsLook into alternative ways to cool your home, such as geothermal cooling and evaporative cooling systems. Use your tax refund for window shading home improvements, such as installing patio covers, awnings, and solar window screens and films. Strategically placed landscaping can also help provide shade and minimize cooling costs.
You can also keep cool this summer with some old-fashioned methods that don’t require a lot of electricity or energy. Mix up a pitcher of ice-cold lemonade, or make some homemade ice cream using the hand-cranked method instead of an electric machine. Hang a hammock in the shade, and enjoy a good book. Invite the neighbors over for a cook-out instead of heating up your oven and stove. For dessert, enjoy the best summer treat of all that doesn’t even require any energy to prepare – slice open a ripe, red watermelon.
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