Temperatures are stifling, the mercury is spiking and it’s safe to say that we’re solidly in the “dog days” of summer. Ever wonder what that phrase actually means?
Confession: We always thought “dog days” referred to summer temps that are so devastatingly hot even the pooch doesn’t want to go outside. Turns out, there’s a more interesting explanation.
Dog days actually refer to the Dog Star (Sirius) and its position in the sky. To the ancient Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” were when they noticed that Sirius, the biggest star in the night sky, appeared to be rising and setting with the sun.
They theorized that Sirius was bringing extra heat to the earth in July and August. The term was used to refer to the hottest and most humid time of the year, and was thought to bring fever and catastrophe. How’s that for dramatic?
According to actual science, it’s not Sirius that makes this time of year so hot, but something to do with the tilt of the Earth and extra exposure to the sun. The ancient Greeks and Romans did have one thing right, however — it is H-O-T outside.
With weather so sticky and sweaty, fever and catastrophe don’t seem that far-fetched, and most of us will do whatever we can for some relief from the heat. That means cranking up the AC to keep cool, frequent trips to the fridge for cold drinks, extra loads of laundry for swimsuits and wet towels, and higher utility bills.
Yes, the warmer weather comes with a price, but a little energy conservation can significantly cut down your utility bill. Use less energy and save more money with our top ten ways to conserve energy this summer:
1. Optimize your thermostat setting
While it may feel great to blast the AC after getting in from the sweltering heat, it definitely isn’t the most efficient way to get cool. Program your thermostat to keep the temperature set higher while you’re away from home and to cool down in time for your arrival home.
Your Kenmore Smart AC allows you to change the temperature settings from anywhere (work, beach, pool) with the tap of your smartphone. Use your air conditioner only when you need to and save energy in the process.
2. Upgrade to ENERGY STAR® appliances
ENERGY STAR® appliances, which are certified by the U.S. Department of Energy, use anywhere from 10 to 50 percent less energy than their non-ENERGY STAR® equivalent. With the average home appliance lasting for 10 to 20 years, those savings add up.
Upgrading to Kenmore’s lineup of ENERGY STAR® appliances and air conditioners is an easy way to make your home more energy efficient and save a few bucks while you’re at it.
3. Keep your refrigerator temperature under control
Your fridge and freezer are essential to keeping your fresh berries and popsicles cold all summer long. Save on your energy bill by maintaining your fridge properly and regulating the temperature. Set your refrigerator thermostat between 28 and 35 degrees, and your freezer between 0 and 5 degrees.
While you’re at it, check the door seals and make sure they’re properly closed at all times. A Kenmore Smart Refrigerator makes it simple to monitor your fridge by alerting you of any changes in temperature, and letting you know if someone left the fridge door open.
4. Fans keep it easy and breezy
Fans are an easy way to cut down on cooling costs when the heat is on. You can cool an entire room with a ceiling fan, but if you’re not ready to make that kind of a commitment, rotating or box fans can be a great substitute. A good fan will help cool your home and allow you to raise the thermostat by 4 degrees without reducing your comfort level.
Keep your electronics from sucking up energy by unplugging your TV, computer, chargers and other small electronics when you’re not using them. You should also consider using big appliances like dryers and dishwashers (which may put out extra unwanted heat) after dark, so that your air conditioner isn’t fighting too many battles at once.
6. Get out of the kitchen
Ovens and stoves can raise your kitchen’s temperature up to 10 degrees, giving your AC an extra workout. Outdoor grilling is a great way to prepare dinner without generating extra heat inside the house. If your grill could use an upgrade, check out Kenmore’s full line of gas and charcoal grills. Or just give yourself the night off and take the family out to eat!
7. Seal up your leaks
Keeping your cool efficiently means keeping the cool air inside and hot air outside where it belongs. Use caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows. Now is the time to check the insulation in the attic, as well. Insulation acts as a shield from the sun — the better the insulation, the cooler the temperature.
8. Draw the shades
While the natural light streaming in through the window can be beautiful, those sunbeams bring the heat! Keeping the blinds and curtains closed on sun-facing windows is essential to keeping your home cool.
9. Make the switch to LED light bulbs
If you haven’t yet upgraded your light bulbs to LED, now is the time. LED light bulbs produce much less heat than fluorescent and incandescent bulbs and use far less energy. Plus, they last longer than traditional bulbs, saving you money on electricity and replacement costs. They’re also easy to find anywhere you’re already shopping for light bulbs.
10. Stay out of hot water
Avoid using hot water whenever possible. The majority of the energy used by your washing machine goes toward heating the water so it pays to do your laundry on the cold or warm water cycle. The Cold Clean Cycle® on your Kenmore washer uses cold water and can clean just as well as a warm-water wash — all while using 49% less energy than the normal cycle.
Save even more energy by turning down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting and use the app for your Kenmore Smart Water Heater to change the setting remotely when you’re away on vacation.
For more ways to save energy throughout the year, visit the Department of Energy’s website.