Beating the summer heat often uses a lot of energy consumption because the first thing many people tend to reach for is the air conditioner button to cool things off. Unfortunately, air conditioners tend to consume a lot of electricity which can be costly.
While avoiding turning off the air conditioning may be difficult due to high temperatures or humidity, by taking a few extra steps you can effectively reduce your air conditioner use, resulting in overall lowered electricity consumption. Over time you’ll see a reduction in your energy bill. If you don’t have the resources to invest in an EnergyStar air conditioner or make other costly modifications to your home, there are some cheap ways to save energy in the summer.
Raise the thermostat on your air conditioner when not at home. Keep it low enough to keep the house from becoming overheated, but high enough so the air conditioner is not running constantly during the time frame when no one is in the home. Turn off the A/C when possible and be sure to keep those filters clean. If you have a programmable thermostat, be sure to use its features.
Keep the shades drawn during the day when the temperatures are high and sun is shining bright, this will keep the sun’s hot rays from heating up your space.
Invest in heavy duty drapes, this will help seal coolness in and keep the heat out, especially if your house has window drafts. If you do have drafts, seal them with towels or head to your local hardware store and invest in a low-cost solution (i.e. caulk, etc.)
Close off vents from rooms you are not using or, if you live in a multi-floor dwelling, close off the vents downstairs. Since heat rises, this will keep most of the air circulating in the rooms which will need it most and energy will not be wasted cooling down lower floors which also tend to have a lower temperature since heat rises.
If temperatures drop in the evenings and are on the cool side, if you turn off the air at night and run fans to suck in the coolness from outside, this will cool your house down overnight and may even eliminate your need for air the next day if your shades are drawn and house was cooled enough during the night.
When you use the oven, you are not only using energy for the stove, you are also heating the house which will make your air conditioner kick on more frequently. During the summer if you can reduce your baking and stove-top use, this will help you conserve energy. To further save energy, you can even make leftovers to reheat in the microwave for meals for a few days. Cook all at once and then refrigerate and/or freeze meals ahead of time. This way you’re only using your stove/oven once.
Finding alternatives to using your stove will help you save electricity on several appliances. Or simply use the outdoor grill! Summertime is great for grilling up meats and veggies for meals. Crock-pots are another great way to cook summertime meals without having to turn up the heat through cooking utilities.
Instead of running your clothes dryer, hang your clothes outside. The heat will quickly dry your clothes and you can save the energy on your electric bill. Over the course of time, you’ll begin to see a difference.
Use cold water wherever possible and make sure loads are full before running your washing machine.
Turn off the auto-dry on your dishwasher and instead let your dishes air dry. Use the dishwasher though, this actually conserves more water than letting water run when washing dishes. Be sure and fill it to the max though before pushing the “on” button.
Bonus tip: Keep that refrigerator full. You can plan to pair this with #6 – do all your cooking at once and you’ll have ready-to-eat meals in a full frig. It’s a good feeling to know you don’t have to cook or waste money on carry out meals.
Summertime energy use tends to rise, but by making a few minor changes in your daily habits and some modifications to your home, you can save on energy and reduce energy waste; your pocketbook will notice a difference when you compare to previous summers. Additionally, you’ll be doing your part for conservation which helps everyone in the long run.
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.