by Harriet Bond
(San Francisco, CA, USA)
Getting your electric bill in the mail these days is almost enough to cause you to overheat!. You’ve tried to cut back but maybe there are ways to curtail usage you haven’t thought of.
Energy conservation & energy efficiency is really easy if this is something you want to do. It does require a conscious effort of the entire family. Let’s take a look at a few ways to save.
In the summertime raise your thermostat setting to 80 or above and bring out the fans, both ceiling and floor fans. They can stir the air and make it feel comfortable. Make sure your ceiling fan is blowing down, not up. Up is fine in the wintertime when you want to bring the warm air at the ceiling down to your level. Fans can save you more than $600 each year.
If you’re not at home, turn off the air conditioner. It’s constantly cycling on and off to maintain a cool home and the hot outside air is trying to get inside to the cool areas. Just turn it back on when you return.
Clean is cool. Clean or replace the AC filter once a month. Dirty filters make your AC work harder and less efficiently. Clean the registers in all rooms including the intake register. Close off all registers in rooms not in use. Speaking of clean, take a cool shower before going to bed and feel cooler.
Shade your outside condenser and save up to 10% on electric usage but make sure the shrubs or grass are not blocking the intake panels.
Check your duct work for leaks. The older it is the more likely it leaks. While you’re in the attic notice how hot it is up there. Insulate the attic or lose up to 40% of cool air. Also, consider installing an attic fan. If you can reduce your attic temperature by only 10 degrees, you can save up to 10% on your electric bill.
Switch to florescent light bulbs. When you stop to think about it, an incandescent light is simply a mini heater that emits light. Florescent bulbs are cooler. They give off 90% light and 10% heat. Plus they last up to ten times longer.
Paint the outside of your home a light color that reflects heat.Houses painted dark attract heat up to 20% more and increase the need to cool. Installing window film also helps keep the house cool but use the kind that reflects heat without blocking the light.
Wash dishes only when you have a full load. Air dry your dishes and avoid using the heat dry cycle. A full load for clothes washing is also a good idea or use the proper load level. A clothes line would save more energy and make your clothes smell better.
Of course, turn off energy users when not in use and consider space heaters and window cooling units. Why heat and cool what you’re not using? Saving a few watts of power here and there may not sound like much but it all adds up over the year. Conserve energy and save money. That’s something you can bank on.