Sunday, May 27, 2012

17 Ways to Save on Summer Energy Costs

A mild winter doesn’t necessarily mean a hot summer.  However, the weather is unpredictable and anything can happen at anytime.  The summer season has not started yet but it feels like it. People have already turned on their air conditioning.  

If it is a hot summer people will try everything possible to keep cool. If you have to use your air conditioner more often this summer there are still some ways to save on energy costs without hurting your wallet. Here are 17 ways to reduce energy costs this summer.

  1. Appliances.  Limit the use of the microwave.  Purchase a portable grill to cook food.  Dry clothes using full loads or air dry clothes to save money.  Buy energy efficient appliances and light bulbs.  Wash clothes in warm or cold water and rinse in cold water. 
  2. Computers.  Turn off your computer when not in use or leave it in standby mode.  Energy Star has free energy efficient programs for computers that will help reduce energy usage.
  3. Electronics.  Turn off all electronics and appliances when not in use.  If you have multiple televisions in your home this adds up in electricity costs when running them at the same time.  If you are out of a room for more than 20 minutes turn off all electronics. 
  4. Oven cooking.  Using the oven when it's hot outside will make it harder to keep your home cool.  Cook on top of the oven to save money. 
  5. Thermostat.   Set your air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees F.  Don't place lamps, televisions or computers near your thermostat.  The thermostat can sense the heating coming from the appliances and will run longer than necessary.
  6. Fans. If you need additional cooling use a portable fan or ceiling fans.  You can increase the thermostat setting 4°F with sacrificing comfort. Turn on the fan when you are taking a shower or bath to reduce humidity and heat.
  7. Lights.  Don't turn lights on if your home gets natural sunlight.  Keeping lights off keeps your home cool.  Turn lights on only when necessary.
  8. Insulate.  Seal any cracks or leaks around and inside your home and insulate your attic floor.  Install storm windows to save on energy costs.
  9. Refrigerator.  Keep your refrigerator at 38 - 40 degrees F.  Keep your freezer at 5 degrees F.
  10. Install a metal roof. Aluminum reflects sunlight. Metal reflects up to 70% of the sun’s radiation and loses its heat easily which helps keep the roof cool.
  11. Fresh air.  If you live in an area where it is hot during the day and cool at night, turn off the air conditioner and open the windows to get fresh cool air. In the morning close the windows and blinds to retain the cool air.
  12. Cover windows.  Install window coverings to prevent heat gain through windows.
  13. Ventilation.  Make sure you home is well ventilated.  Make sure bathrooms and the kitchen have vents that lead outside.
  14. Maintenance.  Perform regular maintenance or air conditioning, heat pumps or other cooling devices.
  15. Vacuum. Vacuum dust from behind or underneath appliances and vent registers.
  16. Housework.  Run appliances and large electronics such as computers, appliances, electronics and other items that use a large amount of electricity after the sun goes down.
  17. Water Heater. Set the temperature of your water heater to 120°F.

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