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Blog Jun 9, 2013

17 Summer Energy Saving Tips

Energy Saving

Everyday living changes with the passage of spring and the start of summer, as adjustments, must be made for the increasing temperatures and longer days of the new season. But along with the temperature change can come greater spending, as people seek to cool down their homes and continue on with their usual routine through to fall. And though there are many things that go into surviving the season, one great thing about the hottest months of the year is that there are many opportunities to save during them. So as the summer swings into full effect, consider using some of these techniques to put some money back into your wallet.  

1. Reconsider Your Refrigerator Temperature

One of the simplest changes you can make to improve the efficiency of one of the most important appliances within your home is to adjust the temperature. A refrigerator with a temperature under 37 degrees Fahrenheit and a freezer under 0 degrees can cause your appliance to run more than necessary, which will cost you later on. To reduce needless energy waste, keep the temperatures at 37 and 0 for maximum efficiency. Also, be sure to periodically clean out spoiled food or things you know you will not finish, as removing the clutter from your fridge will also improve overall efficiency.


2. Don’t Turn Off A/C When You’re Out Of The House

A common misconception that many people have is that while you are out of your house, it is best to shut off your A/C. The problem with that belief is that if you leave the air conditioning off all day, when you get home and turn it on it will take a lot of energy to cool off the hot temperature. Unfortunately, you cannot leave the A/C running while you’re gone as that is a huge waste of energy. The best solution is to invest in a programmable thermostat to keep the temperature 7-10 degrees higher while you’re away. Also, be sure to close all of the curtains and shut all windows in your home to keep rooms cooler.


3. Run Your Dishwasher in the Evening

One place to start saving this summer is on your appliances, as operating large electricity drainers like your dryer or dishwasher at times of high energy demand undermine your ability to cut costs. “Peak” energy demand hours, or the times in which the most people are using electricity, often bring with them higher rates as energy providers must simultaneously supply high numbers of people. By simply running your dishwasher in the off hours between 7pm and 10am, you’ll incur a smaller charge than you would have had you run it earlier. It also helps to prevent your home from overheating, as using electrical appliances that require a lot of energy increases the temperature within your home and often result in the air conditioner being turned on.


4. Avoid “Standby Power”

When it comes to electronic devices that are not in use, it is important that you unplug them or they may drain residual energy and cost you money even while turned off. This is especially important when you are going away on vacation, as your many devices like tvs, toasters, and blenders will continue to cost you even as they remain powered down. To save yourself the pain of having to shelve out money for energy use you never benefitted from, unplug your appliances. You can also use smart power strips, devices that offer plug-in sockets for appliances but shut off energy running to them while they are powered down. This offers easy savings and takes the effort out of eliminating “standby power”.


5. Use Fans Wisely(Use as alternative to A/C)

Instead of enlisting the aid of just your air conditioner to cool off your home, be sure to use fans as well. While fans are able to “cool” off a room by circulating air within it, this won’t actually reduce the temperature of the space, but it will promote the sensation of coolness. As a result, it is important that you turn off your fan when you leave the room or else you are just wasting energy. Ceiling and floor fans are particularly useful at night when the lights are turned out and the windows can be opened to let in the breeze. The best part about utilizing a fan in the summer is that in terms of cost, it is a much better alternative to A/C.


6. Line-dry your clothes

After doing laundry this summer, consider skipping the dryer and hang your clothes outside on a clothes line. Though it may take them just a bit longer to dry, using a line has a number of benefits, first and foremost being the amount it saves people. In terms of energy use, doing load after load of laundry quickly adds up. What’s even worse is when a “load” consisting of just a few pairs of shorts or t-shirts that could have easily air-dried is thrown into the machine. To nip that expense in the bud, pull out the line and hang up your clothes.


7. Change Your Bulbs

In the moments just following the dramatic burst of your incandescent lightbulb, it is natural to locate another bulb and plug it right back into the empty socket. The only problem with that is that in doing so, you are replacing one energy deficient bulb with another. So next time you find yourself with the opportunity to swap in a new bulb, consider using a compact fluorescent bulb. These energy efficient alternatives can help you save around $50 throughout its long lifespan, according to findings from the Alliance to Save Energy. Especially in the summer when costs are already high, it’s helpful to find wins where you can.


8. Simple Techniques You Can Use to Stay Cool

Sometimes beating the heat and saving money is as simple as using a few tricks to keep cool. One easy thing you can do is to chill your “pulse points,” conveniently named due to the fact that they are located at your wrists and temples. All you have to do is run cold water over your wrists for a minute each hour or splash water onto your face. Sometimes the sensation of heating can be minimized by cooling those two spots alone. Dampening a rag or paper towel can also be useful as it can be used to chill the face and neck.


9. Outdoor Movie Night

Getting out of the house is a great way to take advantage of the summer and make some memories. Even better than that is getting a chance to do something fun with your neighbors that can help you all cut back on some expenses. To start saving today, schedule a neighborhood wide outdoor movie night. You can enlist everyone’s help as a projector can be rented or borrowed from someone. You can rent a screen too or consider showing the moving on a garage door. From there, make it an event! You can set up beach chairs, towels, blankets and if people are inclined they can even bring light snacks. However you plan it, everyone can come together to watch a family-friendly film under the stars!


10. Hot And Cold Foods

It might not seem like much, but if ever you’re looking to get your body temperature up or down this summer, consider making some slight dietary changes. Spicy foods are great for getting a sweat going and in the summer time there a number of dishes that can be made to accommodate your aim. A variety of burgers and stews are great for that and if you want the heat without the full commitment of making a spicy food, there are many types of hot sauces that can be made to heat things up. In the event you were hoping to cool off, you might also eat cold fruit or dairy products. It beats the cost of adjusting the thermostat and now you’ll have an excuse to treat yourself to some more ice cream.


11. Dress For Savings

Summer wear is more than just a line of eye-catching seasonal clothing. It serves another more functional purpose as everything from fabric to fit and color choice play a role in how things are made. When it comes to selecting the best kinds of money-saving clothes, try and find garments that are loose-fitting, light-colored, and made from cotton. These are usually the kinds that help to keep you cooler than most synthetic materials. This is particularly advantageous when it comes to lounging around your home as an outfit change is an easy way to combat staying in a slightly warmer house because it allows you to keep from adjusting the thermostat.


12. Get Grilling

Everyone knows that summer is cookout season. It gives us all the opportunity to get outside and trade out the oven for the charcoal grill. But this classic summer tradition has hidden benefits that far too often go unnoticed. Using a gas or charcoal grill requires little to no energy whatsoever, beating out the likes of the energy-sucking oven or slightly better microwave when it comes to energy efficiency. The time you spend grilling is also time that you get to spend outside, meaning that you can drastically decrease the total energy consumption inside your home and realize even greater savings.


13. Close the Blinds

Though it is easy to conclude that window panes are thick enough to keep out the heat, more often than not when it gets hotter outside, the temperature within your home increases as well. To counteract the effects of the heat, use your blinds to your advantage. When you leave a room or are going to leave your home for an extended period of time, close up the blinds to limit the room’s exposure to heat.

It is particularly important to remember this for rooms that you use infrequently, as during the times you forget to close up the blinds heat is able to enter and spread throughout your house. Also, always remember to close the blinds in your home when you leave for vacation.


14. Take A Family Bike Ride

One of the best things you can do to save money this summer is to get outside of the house as much as you can. Especially for those with families, getting into a routine with your time away from the house is a great way to keep yourself out of the house. One fun thing to consider as you feel out your routine is a family bike ride after dinner.

The warmth of the early evening in the summer makes it a perfect time to avoid the sweltering heat but savor the temperature and biking is a great activity for keeping active and exploring. Ride around your neighborhood or venture out into new areas in your town. Getting out of the house and into the great outdoors will ensure you savings for the month and memories for a lifetime.


15. Keep Your AC Vents Open

Contrary to popular thought, closing off the AC vents in the rooms that you do not use can actually do more harm than good. When your vents are shut and cold air comes through the system, much of it gets trapped where it is and is unable to spread to other rooms. That means that your house will not cool off as desired and that your energy bill will remain unaffected. Even worse is the fact that closing off AC vents has been attributed to causing leaks in the ductwork. So, save yourself from a few problems and a few dollars spent by keeping the vents open.


16. Water Heater

One household item that runs whether someone is home or not is the electric water heater and though it runs continuously, there are adjustments that can be made to reduce its expense. Namely, the water heater’s temperature can be lowered, allowing for it to still fulfill its purpose however doing so at a more cost-effective rate.

To achieve this level, the recommended water temperature is typically 120 degrees. For reference, a hot tub is roughly 103 degrees, which is hot enough for most people. And for every ten degrees that you turn down the water heater, the more money that you can save. It is important to remember that as you adjust the water heater’s temperature setting, only turn it down one or two degrees at a time to prevent it from going into an “emergency electric draw.” Just turn down the temperature slowly, let the heater adjust, then turn it down a bit more.


17. Get Into Reading

Though it may seem like a cliché summertime activity, reading is a great way to start cutting into your spending. Cracking open a book gives you a nice alternative to engaging in some electronic energy use. Not only will it save you from having to charge or power any devices, reading can be done almost anywhere. That means that you don’t even need to power the lights of your home as you can step outside and get sucked into a story. Take the time to travel to far off lands and follow alongside inspiring character, as all the while you’ll be saving.

As you enjoy the many activities that summer has to offer, be sure to take advantage of all of the ways you can save during it. Often, you’ll find you won’t even have to change up your routine that much to accommodate a money saving lifestyle. And what’s more, many of these tips can be used throughout the year, meaning that the savings do not have to stop when September rolls around. By sticking to these strategies and making an effort to be as efficient with your energy as you can, you’ll be able to cut your costs and put some big bucks back into your pocket.

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