Get sticker shock yet from your utility bills? It’s been pretty warm out and we’ve all been cranking that AC up to stay comfortable. However, that can come at a price, especially if your home is inefficient or you overuse some appliances. To celebrate last week’s summer solstice, here are 10 summer energy saving tips to help you:
1. Use a programmable thermostat. They aren’t too expensive, but you do get lots of features the more you spend. Set your thermostat to raise the temperature during the day when you’re not at home.
2. Avoid using heat-producing appliances. The dryer, dishwasher, some lighting, the oven or stove all emit lots of heat. Minimize your usage of these things to take some burden off your air conditioning.
3. Invest in insulating window coverings. Honeycomb blinds can help act as a barrier between your window and your house to maintain the temperature (this goes for the winter months too). Blackout shades can keep sunlight out, which will help keep the heat out.
4. Minimize drafts. You can find drafts usually by the cobwebs that hang around them. Plug them up or seal up your windows if they don’t insulate well.
5. Use ceiling fans. Take some of the burden off your air conditioning by turning it up a little and turn on the ceiling fan while you’re in a room. A ceiling fan can allow you to raise the temperature four degrees without any change in comfort level.
6. Turn down your water heater. Set it at the warm setting, 120-140 degrees. You probably won’t need to take as warm of showers during the hot months.
7. Take advantage of cooler nights. Open the windows and shut off the air conditioning.
8. Install efficient lighting. Incandescent lightbulbs only produce light with 10-15 percent of the energy consumed. The rest is expended as heat. Compare types of lightbulbs.
9. Clean or replace filters in your air conditioning system regularly. Nothing puts strain on the air conditioner like a clogged filter.
10. Use cold water for your washing machine. Hot water is only needed for heavy-duty cleaning cycles but it does require considerable energy to heat. Cold water is also better for stain removal.