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7 'Cool' Ways To Cut Energy Costs This Summer

Written by Savannah Marie, Community Blogger | Jul 11, 2014 1:15 PM
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Photo by Ry Van Veluwen

Nobody likes to sweat inside a hot, humid place that’s supposed to be their ‘comfort zone’. 

So, if you’re thinking that I’m about to tell you to rough it, kill your AC and convert your living room into a sauna for the purpose of going green and saving on energy, then you’re in for a surprise.

Without the lovely scent of cedar and steam from hot rocks, that living room is no sauna… it’s just an annoyingly hot, humid room.  That’s why I’m going to show you 7 ways to help the environment, lower your summer energy bill and keep cool in the process.

 

#7: Switch to High-Efficiency Lighting

If you’ve ever touched an incandescent light bulb after it’s been on all day, then you probably wished you hadn’t. Those bulbs can get hot …very hot.  Why? 

Conventional incandescent light bulbs actually convert 95% of the energy they use into heat rather than light, which is why the surface of the bulb in your desk lamp can get as hot as 375 degrees.  So, not only are those incandescent bulbs causing a higher energy bill, but they’re also making your place hotter.

However, high-efficiency bulbs use a fraction of the energy, produce minimal heat and do a better job at lighting. 

 

#6: Use Your Grill

Every time you light up your stove or oven, you consume energy and you increase the temperature in your kitchen. 

That’s why a great way to prepare meals without making your AC work harder is to use your grill.  Sure, your grill does operate by converting stored energy (propane, charcoal, etc.) into heat, but that heat stays outside and doesn’t end up inside your house. 

Also, your microwave won’t add to the heat problem either, and is probably your most efficient form of preparing your hot food.

 

#5: Do Laundry At Night

One fabulous way of reducing energy costs is to run your larger appliances during ‘non-peak’ hours.  In fact, most energy companies will cut their rates during hours when there’s not as much of a demand on power.

For instance, a hot summer afternoon is when everyone is running their air conditioners, placing a heavy load on the power supply.  But around 10pm, the sun has gone down, and many aren’t running their air conditioners. 

Because doing laundry requires huge amounts of power, you can cut that cost by taking advantage of the power company’s non-peak rates. 

Also, because the dryer will leak heat when the door is opened, it won’t be as much of a problem after the hot sun has set.

 

#4: Keep the Sun Out

Speaking of the sun, here’s a quick tip, which requires very little explanation.

That light coming in through your windows is hot, so during the hottest part of the day, close the blinds and draw the curtains.  Keep the room nice and dark from 11am – 3pm. 

If you need a little light, then only open the blinds on the northern and northeastern side of the house, because the sun makes its usual arc through the southern half of the sky.

 

#3: Run Your AC On a Schedule

Chances are, you aren’t always home.  So, why pay to cool a home that’s unoccupied for 8 hours during the hottest part of the day?

Invest in a smart schedule-programmable thermostat, and take advantage of timing.

For instance, if you have to leave for work at 7am, then you can program it to reach 75-degrees around 7:30am.  If you return from work at 6pm, then you can program it to reach 71-degrees at 5:30pm.  This way, you can save a bundle, and not even be around to feel the difference. 

 

#2: Service Your Home’s HVAC

Sometimes air cooling units get old and worn out.  Also, home utilities are constantly becoming more efficient and better equipped for conserving energy and saving the homeowner money. 

That’s why one of the best ways to get better AC performance and cut your energy costs this summer is to service the HVAC utilities you already have.  Your outdoor unit depends on routine maintenance and updated components for its best efficiency.

 

#1: Change Your Air Filter 

If your air filter is stopped up with all kinds of allergens, dust and debris from this past winter, then your home’s central AC system is working that much harder to force air through it. 

All you need to do is spend a couple dollars on a new filter (that you would’ve needed anyway), and take 2 minutes to change it out. 

Not only will you have cleaner air, but also you’ve increased the efficiency of your homes HVAC system.  You’ll have a cooler home for less energy, and this quick fix will help save the environment and your budget.  

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