Utility bills inevitably rise along with the mercury, but they don’t have to skyrocket. All it takes to reduce your summer energy costs is a few minor modifications. Here’s how to keep your cool without breaking your budget.
Hang blackout liners behind curtains.
Windows are responsible for approximately 25 percent of heat gain during the sweltering summer months, as well as heat loss during colder months. Hang blackout liners or shades behind curtains and close them during daylight hours when you aren’t using the room to keep the heat and light from the sun out. This green living strategy is especially beneficial if you have south- or west-facing windows. Your apartment will stay cooler without running the air conditioner as much.
Program your thermostat.
Show your thermostat the same love you show your DVR by programming it according to your daily schedule. Most models allow you to input different settings for weekdays and weekends, as well as up to 6 different temperatures throughout the day. Experts recommend that you set the AC to 77-78°F while you are home, and increase the temperature about 20 minutes prior to your departure time each day. For every degree over 78°F it is set, you can save as much as 6-8 percent on your energy bill. Decrease the temperature 20 minutes prior to your return time, and don’t override the setting even if you feel like you’re melting from being outside for an extended period. Instead, cool your body off by drinking an ice-cold glass of water and/or putting an ice pack on your neck for a few minutes.
Wash laundry in cold water and let it air dry.
The energy that your water heater uses accounts for approximately 14 percent of your total power bill. Using cold water in combination with an environmentally-friendly detergent gets clothes just as clean as hot water, while preserving fabric color and conserving energy. Increase your utility bill savings by using a drying rack on your deck or patio during warmer months instead of throwing them in your dryer.
What methods to you use to reduce summer energy costs? Share your tips for green living in the comments below.