Conserving energy is a great idea all year round. However, in the summer months many people have difficulty keeping cool while conserving energy and lowering their bills. There are many ways to conserve energy without compromising your comfort.
Cool your home properly.
Your air conditioners BTU’s should be appropriate for the space you are trying to cool. A 5000 or 6000 BTU air conditioner should be appropriate for 100-250 square feet of space.
This however varies depending on other factors. Poor insulation, high ceilings and even the amount of windows in that room can vary the amount of BTU’s needed. Ask your local hardware store, or your utility company to help you determine what size air conditioner you need.
You will also want to ensure that your air conditioner has an Energy Saver option.
This allows the air conditioner to turn itself off when the room is cooled to the programmed temperature, and turn itself back on when the temperature starts to rise again.
This feature is standard on most modern air conditioners. Set the temperature at a reasonable level. If it were 60 degrees outside, you would wear a jacket, so set your air conditioning at 65 or 68 degrees. Some people even prefer keeping the temperature at 70 degrees.
When you install the air conditioner, make sure to cover all opening and gaps left between the window frame and air conditioner. You can buy special foam to go into the gaps from the hardware store, but white duct tape works just as well and will blend right in if your walls are white.
Upgrade your windows and invest in blinds or curtains.
If your windows allow a breeze to come inside, then they are allowing air conditioning to seep outside. Consider the cost of upgrading your windows. Homeowners and Renters alike can ask their utility companies about the Weatherization Program which helps to lower heating and cooling bills by replacing windows, old appliances and doing renovations. We Buy Houses in Houston uses this program to considerably reduce all of their home’s bills. And when the home is sold, the savings can be transfered to the new owners as well. It is a free program if you qualify.
Blinds or curtains will also help keep the heat out, so keep them closed when you are running your air conditioning or crack the blinds instead of pulling them up.
Check electrical outlets and heating vents.
If you have electrical outlets that are not in use, cover them. It may only conserve a small amount of energy, but every little bit counts! You can cover heating vents that are not being used as well. This helps to keep the summer barrage of bugs at bay as well.
Don’t cool rooms that are not used much.
If you do not spend a lot of time in the kitchen, or you only use your bedroom at night, consider shutting doors or putting curtains or sheets over those entrances. This is especially true for the kitchen when cooking. You can spend much of your time in a cooler room as the food cooks, but trying to air condition the kitchen with the oven turned on is a waste of energy and money.
You really do not need air conditioning in the bathroom, do you? Close the bathroom door when you do not plan to be using it for an extended amount of time.
Pay attention to the outside temperature.
On cooler days, you may be inclined to turn the air conditioning off. Nights tend to cool down some. If the heat is not stifling or uncomfortable, turn the air conditioning off at night. You may have central air that you can program to turn on and off at certain times. Take advantage of it to conserve energy and save you money.
Keep lights off during the day and in rooms you are not using at night.
This may seem obvious when trying to conserve energy, but it is even more critical during the summer. Lights generate heat, making your air conditioning less effective. Again, every little bit helps, so if you are not using the room, turn the lights off. This is equally effective if you have animals requiring special lighting.
You might consider turning the lights on in your pet’s home at night when it is cooler and you are not at peak usage. This type on conservation may be dangerous to your animals in the winter months, so be sure to change their lighting cycle back when the temperatures start to cool down again
Water Conservation & Swimming Pools
Water does not constitute as energy exactly, but it is a big part of summer and certainly should be conserved. If you are filling a pool, you can talk to your water company about it. They usually offer a bulk price if you tell them when you expect to fill it. This keeps you from incurring peak usage charges, and it is usually a lot cheaper than filling your pool at regular rates.
Check your outside spigots for leaks and make sure they are turned off completely after each use.
Water plants and lawns in the early morning hours or at sundown. This is actually better for your garden and lawn, and the heat does not make the water evaporate before the greenery gets its benefits.
Enforce shorter showers if you own a pool. If you and your children spend a lot of time in the pool, then your showers really just need to rinse the chlorine off your bodies. Encourage everyone to respect the water by taking only 10-minute showers if they have been in the pool all day.
Swimming pools on the other hand, use energy with filtering and heating. Make sure no equipment you are using to filter or heat your pool is older than 10 years old. If you heat your pool, consider using panels that do not require electricity or let your pool warm naturally in the sunlight on hot days.
Above are some sure ways to conserve energy and save money. While water may not qualify as energy, it is an especially valuable resource and should be conserved over the summer when many of us use so much of it. Therefore, I added some tips on conserving it too.
There are probably many more ways to conserve energy as well, but the above suggestions will make a big difference to both our planet, and your wallet.