When the weather starts to get warm it’s the time of year when many people stash away winter gear and prepare homes for the warm summer months. It’s also a good opportunity to make sure a home is running as energy efficient as possible. Being energy efficient can make a big difference in the cost of your energy bill. It doesn’t always need a big investment in time or money to make sure you’re wasting less energy and saving more. To get started saving energy around your home, just follow these easy tips:
Keep your windows open
This method works especially well during spring when the weather is just warm enough to be comfortable. Opening a window during the day can circulate a breeze inside your home and help you stay cool. The fresh air feels great and it’s free, so let the cool air in through the windows. And to help circulate the air well, you can turn on ceiling fans. During the summer, opening your windows while you sleep will keep you cool at no cost to you.
Use natural light
Nothing’s nicer than natural light, and in terms of energy use, nothing’s more efficient. A single skylight or properly positioned window can provide as much light as dozens of light bulbs during the daylight hours. Keep the curtains and blinds open during the day when the natural light shines in. To benefit more from natural lighting, you may need to rearrange the furniture in your rooms—putting your favorite reading chair over by the south window, for example. Or you may want to go to more effort and install one or more skylights. To help get that light deeper into the room, you can paint your walls a light color and use reflective louvers or Venetian blinds. Using natural light in the place of electric lights also offers mental and physical benefits in addition to saving electricity.
Use a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat helps make it easy for you to save by offering settings to regulate your home’s temperature in both summer and winter – when you are home, asleep, or away. Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program. Use one that can automatically turn off your cooling system when you are not home, and turn your system on in time for you to arrive home to a cooled house. You can even adjust your programmable thermostat remotely, using your mobile device.
Almost any home can be made more energy efficient by installing ceiling fans. Air conditioning often produces the highest electricity bill, especially during the summer months. So a worthy goal is limiting your air conditioning use as much as possible. One way to avoid A/C use is using ceiling fans. During the summer, you should have your ceiling fans running on high with the air blowing down directly below the fan. This creates the most air movement in the center of the room, which is where you need it most for the “breeze” effect, which will feel cool on your skin. Fans can also be used along with the air conditioner to help reduce energy costs. The cooling effect of the moving air allows the air conditioner thermostat to be set slightly higher while maintaining the same degree of comfort for room occupants. Remember that fans don’t actually cool the air – they make it feel cooler. Running ceiling fans or other fans in unoccupied rooms doesn’t help and it’s a waste of energy.
Use LED light bulbs
Electric lighting accounts for about one-quarter of a home’s energy use so reducing your usage of electricity is a great way to go green and save money. The LED or Light Emitting Diode bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs, and light levels you’ve come to expect. While the initial price of energy-efficient bulbs is typically higher than traditional incandescents, newer bulbs cost less to operate, saving you money over the life of the bulb. Many of the newer bulbs last significantly longer than traditional bulbs, so you won’t need to replace them as often.
Cut down on appliance usage
Try not to cook on hot days because the oven can heat your home and cause the AC to run more. Decrease how often you wash clothes or dishes by only doing these chores when your dishwasher and laundry baskets are completely full. Before you go to bed turn off the power to appliances such as tv’s, Stereo’s, DVD players and any other items that do not need to stay on. These appliances can consume considerable amounts of energy while on standby. You could also try using power strips. With all your appliances all plugged into the same area, you’ll have an easier time remembering to turn everything off.
There are a number of steps you can take to save on energy in the spring and summer. By following them you will not only cut down the costs of your utility bills but also use less gas and electricity, thus helping to reduce the level of harmful CO2 produced.
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