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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Common sense summer energy use

Get Smart on Staying Cool
Dog Animated GIF on GiphyInstalling the AC has always been a summer ritual in my house. It is the day I admit that I am weak and need some electronic help to stay cool. Yesterday I installed the power sucking bundle of cool joy into my bedroom window, making summer official, even if the calendar says otherwise.

Of course this cowardice is not exactly a green solution to the “heat problem”.  In fact, wasted heat from air conditioners have been shown to warm the outside air temperature in cities,creating an even stronger dependence on the energy guzzling monsters.

As someone who admittedly uses the AC frequently during the summer months I can’t forbid my fellow users from the powerful cool air blowing beast. I can give tips of using the AC more efficiently, and give more “natural” tips on keeping cool and controlling the heat.

1. If Buying an Air Conditioner Buy One That Is Energy Star Rated
If your Air Conditioner is over 10 years old buying one that is Energy Star rated can save 20-40 percent on cooling costs.

2. Improve Your Insulation
Sealing your ducts and improving insulation can keep you from “loosing” cool air and save on energy bills.

3. Keep AC Filters Clean
Replace filters when possible, dirt limits airflow.

4. Program Your Thermostat
If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to turn on about an hour and a half before you come home from work, that way you don’t leave it full blasting all day.

5. Don’t Turn Your House into an Ice Box
The AC doesn’t have to turn your house into an icebox in order to make it comfortable. Keep your house at ‘higher’ temperature like 78’ when your home and 85’ when you’re out.

6. AC Your Rooms Efficiently
For those of us without central air who instead use window, ACs it is not always possible to keep the whole house cool.  Choose small rooms that are used a lot. It is more efficient to AC small rooms then large open ones.

7. Limit Use of the Stove and Oven during Hot Weather
During hot weather try to serve ‘cool’ foods likes salads and sandwiches.  Not only will the food be more ‘refreshing,’ but using the stove could warm up the house.

8. Take Advantage of Water
Cool down your body temperature by taking a cold bath, applying a soaked bandana to your forehead, or spritzing your exposed areas with water.

9. Use a Clothesline
Take advantage of the sun, ignore the clothes drying machine and hang up a clothesline instead.

10. Get Some Shade
Prevent excess heat from finding a way into your home by closing your shades in the morning before the sun hits your house. Keeping windows closed during the day keeps the warm air from outside from coming in. Open your windows at night to take advantage of cross ventilation, when the air outside is cooler.

11. Turn off Lights
Keep your lights out whenever possible because the heat/energy given off by the light can warm up a room.

12. Know When to Use Your Fan
Fans provide the house no benefit if no one is there is appreciate their magic.

Enjoy Your Summer!