Even when air conditioning is a must
If you’re anything like me, the summer months are trying times for your electricity bill.
As a northern-born lady currently living in a southern state, I can go a whole winter without so much as glancing at the thermostat, but when the summer temperatures come (usually in about mid-March) I start doing a really authentic Wicked Witch of the West impression…
“I’m melting, melting! Oh, what a world, what a world!”
But once I finish being dramatic, I start to look for ways to reduce my summer energy consumption, for the sake of my utility bill and my carbon footprint.
I’ve amassed quite a collection of little tips and tricks that reduce consumption without sacrificing comfort.
And now I’m going to share them with you!
#1 Tweak Your AC Routine SLIGHTLY
Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you to ditch your air conditioner. But, there are things you can do to use it more efficiently so that you’re kept cool and comfy without wasting any energy.
You’ve probably heard it said that setting your thermostat back even as little as one degree makes a significant impact on energy consumption, and it does. For our purposes, I’ll assume you’ve already found your optimum temperature for the ideal comfort to consumption balance.
But the energy savings don’t stop there. Think about it- do you really need your house to be kept at that ideal temperature all the time? What about when you’re at work? Could you get away with opening a window while you’re sleeping to take advantage of the cooler night temperatures?
Your schedule is an important consideration in your AC usage, and it’s worth it to adjust your thermostat around it. These days, there are even fancy wifi enabled thermostats that can automatically adjust themselves based on your schedule!
While you’re doing this air conditioning audit, you may also want to close off any vents in rooms you aren’t using and make sure that your system is well-maintained and equipped with fresh filters.
#2 Pay Attention to Solar Gain
It’s no secret that the sun is an incredibly powerful ball of fire in the sky that’s constantly blasting us with radiation, but you may not realize the full impact it can have on your home.
It’s tempting to open the blinds wide on a sunny summer morning and take in the green trees, blue skies, and watch the little birds flutter about. But the longer you leave your blinds open on a sunny day, the more heat you’ll gain inside the house from the sun’s rays shining in.
This solar gain can be significant. Figuring out exactly how significant involves a lot of variables and calculations, but suffice it to say, keeping your curtains drawn during the day will keep your house cooler and give your air conditioner less of an uphill battle to fight.
#3 Retire Your Dryer
A dryer can seem like a godsend on a rainy day or when you’re enjoying the warmth and softness of freshly tumbled sheets. But it also uses a lot of energy, as well as heating up your house, which causes your AC unit to use more energy- a vicious cycle.
This summer, why not try taking advantage of the nice weather by hanging your clothes outside to dry? It’s free, requires no electricity, and you may find that you like the line-dried scent even more than the dryer sheet one!
#4 Switch Out Your Bulbs
If you haven’t made the switch from incandescent light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs, now may be the perfect time.
Not only do these bulbs produce the same amount of light with less energy, but they also don’t produce heat, which keeps your house a little bit cooler and, you guessed it, reduces the burden on your air conditioner.
Maybe this post should really be titled, “How to Make Life Easier for Your Air Conditioner.”
#5 Stay Out of the Kitchen
The kitchen is an energy-intensive room any time of the year, but at least in the winter your oven does double duty by cooking your food while heating your home. In the summer, that same function is less appreciated.
Try to avoid using your oven or stove in the summer months. Now could be a great time to try out a few new slow cooker or grill recipes!
If you’ve just gotta bake, you may want to try a solar oven instead of your conventional one. GoSun has a variety of models that you can use to cook all the same meals you would in your regular oven, using the power of the sun and without heating up your house.
A freelance writer working with bighearted businesses who want to better our world.