20 Ways to Save Energy and Stay Cool This Summer

Summer 2011 has already shown record high temperatures. You want to stay cool and comfortable in your home, but cranking the A/C full blast means higher energy costs. The question you’re asking is how do I stay comfortable without breaking the bank?Fortunately there are many small changes a homeowner can make to cut costs while maintaining comfort.

1) For a lifetime of savings and increased comfort, upgrade your home’s insulation. In the summer, good insulation keeps cool air in just as it keeps warm air in during the winter.

2) Buy an Energy Star-rated programmable thermostat for as little as $25. When the house is empty, the thermostat could be turned up and set to have the temperature drop to more comfortable levels by the time you arrive home. Just doing that can cut energy expenses by 10 per cent.

3) Keep the thermostat at 25°C when you are home and 30°C when you’re away. Based on a 2,400-square-foot house, the savings-per-degree equals $4, according to Georgia Power in Atlanta.

4) Replace furnace/air-conditioning filters on a regular basis

5) Close blinds, curtains and shades on the sunny side of the house

6) Use energy efficient lights that produce less heat and get in the habit of turning all lights off when you leave a room

7) Replace older air conditioners or central-air systems (long term savings)

8) Use a ceiling fan to circulate air and create a cool breeze

9) Turn on the exhaust fan when you are cooking to get rid of hot air while you’re cooking

10) Use the BBQ or a microwave rather than your oven or stove so as not to generate unwanted heat in the home. The California Energy Centre advises that microwaves use two-thirds less energy than a stove does.

11) Take lukewarm showers and baths to avoid humid air, which holds heat.

12) Make sure you have the appropriate sized dehumidifier for your home. They can be a big drain on power.

13) Let hot items cool down before placing them in the refrigerator, so it doesn’t have to work as hard to cool them. Also note, the more densely packed your refrigerator is, the less cool air that will escape each time you open the door

14) Use a dishwasher. According to TreeHugger.com, dishwashers use half the energy and 1/6 of the water that washing by hand does. Letting dishes air-dry saves electricity.

15) Use the warm or cold water settings to making doing laundry more energy efficient. Use cold water to rinse clothes

16) Line-dry clothes whenever you can. When you run the dryer, do full loads, use the moisture-sensing setting, and clean the lint trap after each use

17) Unplug phones and chargers; turn computers and printers off at the power strip because most new electronics use electricity even when they are switched off.

18) Turn your water heater down to 50°C to save even more money on your electricity bill.

19) When baking, Georgia Power says, avoid opening the oven door, which lets out 20% of the heat. Use a timer.

20) When cooking on top of the stove, use pots and pans that match the size of your burners, which brings more heat to the pan and less to the surrounding area.