As we enter the dog days of summer, it's time to refresh yourself with some easy ways to save energy while staying cool. Here are 10 tips to help you use energy more efficiently and save money at the same time.
- Turn off your air conditioner before you leave home for an extended period of time. Or at least turn up the thermostat. It’s a straightforward way to use less power. Also, make sure the filter is clean. Dirty filters cause air conditioning units to work harder, using more energy.
- Keep the refrigerator doors closed whenever possible. Also, avoid placing hot items in the fridge – let them cool to room temperature first.
- Heat up the food, not the house. A microwave is much more efficient (and quicker!) at heating things up than an oven, especially if you’re trying to stay cool with air conditioning.
- Its curtains for you. Curtains, blinds and shades keep the sun’s hot rays out of your house. Keep them closed on sunny days. Also, deciduous trees planted near your house (particularly on the south and west sides) will similarly block sunrays, with the added bonus that when the tree sheds its leaves in the fall, the sunlight will return just in time for the colder months.
- Solar power your laundry. Skip the dryer and go for an old-fashioned clothes line. You can’t beat free energy from the sun – just make sure there is no rain in the forecast.
- Keep your car tires properly inflated. Tires that are under-inflated reduce performance and require more gas. Keep them properly inflated to increase your gas mileage.
- Plan your trips. Combine your errands into a single outing so you can avoid making multiple trips.
- Maintain your vehicle. Changing your oil and replacing the oil filter will improve fuel economy, and keeping your car well-tuned will help you save about 10 percent more gasoline.
- Avoid lengthy idling. If you have to stop somewhere for more than a minute it’s more efficient to turn off the engine rather than letting it idle.
- Lighten your load. Hauling heavy items in vehicles reduces fuel economy. If you don’t need to take a heavy object with you on a trip, leave it at home.
There you go. Summertime usually means an overtaxed electric grid and gridlocked traffic. If everyone does their share to conserve energy and use it more efficiently, we all will reap the benefits.