August is National extreme heat month. While vacations are returning, many of us are spending our summer at home with friends and family. Being home on these hot summer days can lead to an increase in energy use, as fans and air conditioners will be working in overdrive to help keep cool. The following tips can help you plan ahead and manage energy costs this summer:
10 easy ways to stay cool, reduce energy use and control costs:
1. Fire Up the Grill Cooking in the summer can require two big energy-consuming appliances to work at once -air conditioning and the oven – even more so if you have an electric oven. Cooking in the oven or on the stove uses energy and warms the house—making your air conditioning work harder. Try barbecuing outdoors to decrease your energy consumption. For further savings, dine al fresco.
2. Fill Up the Fridge A full fridge keeps it from warming up too fast when the door is open. This means your fridge doesn’t have to work as hard to stay cool.
3. Join the Fan Club Ceiling fans maximize air circulation. If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.
4. Give your Hands a Break Surprise! Your dishwasher is actually more energy efficient than washing dishes by hand. For extra savings, only run the dishwasher when it’s fully loaded and turn off the dry cycle to allow dishes to air dry instead.
5. Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place Properly placed trees can help you save energy by providing summer shade. Large deciduous trees planted on the east, west and northwest sides of your home create soothing shade from the hot summer sun and reduce air conditioning costs by up to 35%.
6. Keep it Closed Close doors leading to uncooled parts of your home and if you have central air-conditioning, close off the vents to unused rooms. This prevents you from spending energy and money to keep rooms, not people, cool. Check your filters at the start of the summer and make sure to keep them clean.
7. Seal it Up Sealing holes and cracks around your doors and windows is an inexpensive and fast way to keep the cold air in and lower your energy bills. Eliminate air leaks around window air conditioner units with foam insulation or weather-stripping.
8. Program Your Thermostat For each degree you raise your thermostat this summer, you can save 3 to 5% on your air-conditioning costs. Program your thermostat to the highest comfortable temperature.
9. Line Dry Hanging clothes out to dry in the sunshine uses zero energy except the additional workout you get from putting the clothes up and down on the line. If you do need to run the dryer, only run full loads and clear the dryer lint trap after each use.
10. Draw the Blinds As simple as it seems, windows, especially south or west-facing ones, are one of the biggest sources of unwanted heat in your home. Closing blinds, shades and draperies keep out the sun’s ray and can help you lower the temperature in your house dramatically.