Keeping cool for less, while lowering utility bills
Those warm summer days will soon be upon us. Start thinking now about how to keep cool will keeping your utility bills low in summer.
Here are some tips, most of which cost little or next to nothing:
- Hang wash on a line to dry whenever possible.
- When using a clothes dryer, dry only full loads.
- Use cold water in your washing machine.
- Always wash full loads in your washing machine.
- With a dishwasher, wash only full loads. If the machine's instructions allow, don’t use the drying cycle.
- Pull drapes and blinds and close doors and windows during the day to keep cool air in and hot air out.
- Open windows and drapes at night to let cool air in.
- Set your air-conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit -- although senior citizens or people with medical conditions should consult their physicians before changing their normal home temperature.
- Clean or replace air-conditioner filters monthly, during periods of use.
- When shopping for a new air-conditioner -- or any other major appliance -- look for the ENERGY STAR label and consult the unit's EnergyGuide for advice on how much money running that particular appliance may cost you.
- Set the water heater thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (or to the energy efficiency setting, if it is a newer model and has one).
- Turn off the furnace.
- Open refrigerators or freezers only when you need them.
- Keep refrigerator coils clean.
- Turn off lights -- especially incandescent or halogen lights -- that generate heat.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs).
- Fix leaky faucets. Ninety drops a minute add up to 212 gallons down the drain a month -- and if it’s draining from the hot water tank, you are paying to heat water that’s being wasted.
- Cook outdoors when you can instead of heating up the kitchen.
- Use a microwave or toaster oven instead of a larger gas or electric range. They use considerably less energy than a regular oven.
- If you must bake, then bake in the early morning when it is cooler.