Cheap, Free, and Smart ways to Save on Summer Bills…
1. Updated thermostat. Not only are those outdated, gold colored, push-the-little-plastic-lever-til-it-clicks thermostats ugly, they are not efficient. Programmable electric thermostats allow you to program the thermostat to the degree and are customizable to the hour and day. Make it warmer while everyone is gone at work. Make sure you buy one you can understand and program yourself (or if you’re like me, you just need someone in the house who knows how to use it). Some sources say that these thermostats can save up to 20% of your cooling costs.
2. Keep food in the fridge. A refrigerator doesn’t need as much energy to run if there is more food in it. If you have more than one fridge or freezer that you may not always keep filled, consider consolidating down to just one, at least for the summer.
3. Barbeque. Outdoor grilling saves on energy costs, and helps keep the temperature in your home down. Propane burns much cleaner than charcoal, but it is a fossil fuel. Consider trying veggie alternatives on the barbeque for a lower fat, more eco-conscious choice. Try some new recipes and invite your friends over for dinner, and when they invite you over for dinner you can set your thermostat warmer because you’ll be away from the home. Free food, and less energy used? Double score.
4. Take advantage of things like ceiling fans, heat blocking curtains, and crock pots (instead of stove tops). Run your washing machine, dishwasher, and dryer after the sun has gone down. Even better than the dryer is to line dry your clothing. It makes the clothing smell amazing, it’s free, and it saves big time on energy bills.
5. Here are some last tips that are all free. Make sure the furniture is not blocking the cooling vents. Wear breathable cotton clothing, no shoes in the house, and drink lots of cool drinks to make sure you aren’t tempted to lower the temperature. Keep your lamps away from the thermostat, so it doesn’t think it’s hotter than it really is. Let your hair air dry, take advantage of the community amenities, like swimming pools, and enjoy someone elses air conditioning in shopping malls, libraries, or coffee shops. Sleep with less clothing (naked is always greener), and spend more time on the lower levels of your home if you have more than one story.
So take off your shoes, pour yourself a cool glass of water, and enjoy the summertime savings.