Keeping House Cool In Extreme Heat
While we’re battling extreme heat or the dry heat this summer, our electric bills are also burning holes in our pockets. Once the extreme temperatures reach the 90s or even 100 plus, the air conditioners start to work overtime, and our electricity consumption goes sky high.
Most of us expect to receive higher electrical bills during the summer and any hot days — but it is still shocking to see, right? Because of the heat, we crank up our air conditioning to get that cool breeze.
Since the kids are out of school, they spend all day on their electronics or running in and out of the house, letting the heat of the day in and the cold out. Or, by the time you convince them to go outside for a bit, you find yourself washing an extra load full of bathing suits, swim trunks, and towels.
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Even if the summer months come with a price, if you’re prepared, you can use energy wisely and be able to cut down on your bill.
Here are some tips on how you can lower your summer energy costs.
1. Keep Your Home Breezy
An easy way to cut down on cooling costs is to use fans instead of or alongside (cause we live in Texas, and there is NO way to use them INSTEAD of … I’m just saying! lol) an air conditioner. Ceiling fans are great for cooling a room. Most homes come equipped with ceiling fans, so you don’t need to purchase one, but if you don’t have it, portable fans are inexpensive, and you can buy them anywhere.
A fan will allow you to raise your home’s thermostat at least 4 degrees while maintaining the same level of comfort. If you want to feel a little breeze, you can turn on your AC unit at a lower temperature too.
2. Sun Out, Cool Air In
Summer is a great time to hit the beach, go on a picnic, or watch the sunset. It is excellent for your mood, too. However, it’s not so great if you want to keep your home cool.
As direct sunlight comes through your windows, it heats up your home and causes you to spend more using your air conditioner. Draw the blinds, or even better, get blackout curtains you can use during the hottest parts of the day, especially if you have south facing windows.
You can even cover your windows in aluminum foil to keep your house cooler. Covering your windows will make a huge difference in making your home cooler.
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When the outside temperature gets cooler during the night, you can open windows again to let the cool air in. Don’t forget to close your windows again in the early morning to trap the cooler air inside and keep the warm air out.
Trees also provide natural shade to your home. If you have room, you may want to plant more trees around your house. Place trees, shrubs, and vines to block the sunlight and the sun’s heat from your roof, walls, and windows. This can save you around $100 to $250 per year.
3. Use The Thermostat Wisely
It feels great to blast your AC when you get home, right? However, it won’t feel so good later when you see how your bill has skyrocketed.
For every degree that you raise your thermostat above 72 degrees, you are saving up to 3% of your cooling expenses. Try and set your thermostat to 78 degrees and above.
You can also install a smart thermostat, so you don’t have to manually change the temperature of your home every time. This programmable thermostat will automatically adjust the climate control.
4. Switch to LED
When you block out the sun, you may find yourself always turning on the lights. But, be careful with the lights you choose! Incandescent bulbs turn 90% of their energy into heat.
Instead of using incandescent bulbs, switch to LED bulbs. LED bulbs operate at a much lower wattage, and they produce half the heat compared to the incandescent ones. They also use 75% less energy and last 50 times longer than traditional bulbs.
You’re not only saving money on electricity, but you are also saving on replacement costs, too.
5. Use Cold Water
When taking a bath or washing your clothes, try and avoid hot water as much as possible. Over 90% of the energy used by your washing machine goes to heating the water.
If you are doing your laundry on a cold or warm cycle, you are saving a huge amount of electricity. Plus, hot water sets stains in.
According to RealSimple.com:
The consensus is that cold water is more than up to the challenge of washing everyday laundry. … For example, protein stains (blood, sweat) can set in when washed in hot water, and hot water may shrink or wrinkle synthetic fabrics.
Take advantage of the hot weather, too. Once you’re done with your laundry, dry your clothes outside instead of using the dryer. You are not only saving energy, and your clothes will smell fresher, too.
The same goes for taking a bath. Showering with hot water may add to a higher temperature and might make you feel more uncomfortable with the summer temperatures and heat. Try and take a shower with cooler water. It will not only make you feel fresher — you will feel more comfortable, even if the AC is off.
6. Grill Your Food Outside
Cooking in a hot and steamy kitchen can be unbearable, especially if it’s hot outside. Since kitchens are full of heat-producing appliances like stoves and ovens, which can raise the high temperatures, you can save yourself the sweat and the higher utility bill by taking the unwanted heat out of the kitchen and cooking your food outdoors.
Grill some burgers or steak and invite your family and friends over for a barbecue party. You can enjoy the great weather without raising the temperature in your home.
Hubby prefers to grill out – we grill out year-round here in Texas, and probably 7 nights out of 10 he grills out. I LOVE it! There are less dishes to do, too!
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You can also heat up the food and not your house by using a microwave. A microwave is not only quicker and more efficient in heating food than your conventional oven, but it also produces a fraction of the heat as well.
7. Check Your Electronics
Placing heat-generating devices like a television or a lamp near the air conditioner can trick it into thinking that the room is hotter than it usually is. The thermostat will sense it as the heat rises from your electronics and take extra energy to cool the room or the house.
Move these devices away from your AC. Other appliances such as computers, stereos, sound systems, hairdryers, or curling irons may heat up your house, so make sure to keep them away from your cooling system.
8. Unplug When Not Needed
Are you aware that items plugged in but turned off can still consume energy? Unplug appliances and other electronic devices when you’re not using them. Remove or unplug any extra refrigerators or freezers if you can, especially if they are outdoors or in your garage.
You may also plug your home electronics like your TV, DVD player, and computer into a power strip. Turn off the power strip when the equipment is not in use.
Staying cool during the summer or in a heat wave doesn’t mean you should feel uncomfortable in your own home. Take advantage of these cooling tips! These tips may prevent the amount of heat summer months can bring from burning a hole in your bank account.
Do you have any tips to help save money on energy costs in the summer? Share them in the comments below!
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