Temperatures are H-O-T outside, the mercury is spiking and it’s safe to say that we’re solidly in the “dog days” of summer.
Quick confession: We always thought “dog days” referred to summer temps so hot even the pooch doesn’t want to go outside. Turns out, Dog Days actually refer to Sirius, the Dog Star, and its position in the sky during the warmest of summer days in ancient times.
With weather so sticky and sweaty, 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.
Warmer weather can come with a price but a little energy conservation could significantly cut down your utility bill, and without compromising on comfort. Use less energy and save money with our top ten ways to conserve energy this summer.
1. Optimize your thermostat setting
It may feel great to blast the AC after getting in from the sweltering heat, but it’s definitely not the most efficient way to cool off. Program your thermostat to keep the temperature set higher while you’re away and to cool down in time for your arrival back home.
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 can really add up!
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. Is your refrigerator struggling to keep up? Scheduling your annual maintenance can help.
4. Fans keep it easy and breezy
We’re big fans of fans! They’re 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.
5. Night-time is the right time
Consider using large, energy-consuming appliances like dryers, ovens and dishwashers (which may put out extra unwanted heat) after dark, so that your air conditioning isn’t fighting too many battles at once. In many areas, the utility rates are more favorable during off-peak hours as well.
6. Enjoy the great outdoors
Outdoor grilling is a great way to prepare dinner without generating extra heat inside your home. If your grill could use an upgrade, check out Kenmore’s full lineup of gas and charcoal grills. Or… maybe give yourself the night off and take the family out to eat!
7. Seal up your leaks
To keep everything cool at home, it’s smart to keep the cool air inside and hot air outside where it belongs. Use caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around drafty doors and windows. Right now is also a great 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 indoor temperature.
8. Draw the shades
This one’s a no-brainer. While the natural light streaming in through the window might look 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 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 super-easy to find anywhere you usually shop for light bulbs.
10. Stay out of hot water
Try to avoid using hot water whenever possible. Most 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. You can save even more energy by turning down the temperature of your water heater to a lower setting, especially when you’re away on vacation.
For more smart ideas on how to save energy throughout the year, pay a visit to the Department of Energy’s website.