It’s early March, and the cold weather is slipping away day by day. It’s time to start preparing your home for the coming heat. Soon, air conditioners will be blasting, leading to a skyrocket in energy use and expenses. Luckily, there are several very easy ways that you can live more efficiently during the summer. We’ve all heard the theory that it takes 21 days to start a habit. So starting now will leave you plenty of wiggle room. Practice these efficient habits during the spring, and by summer time, they will be second nature.
1. Don’t forget your air filters.
Yes, summer can be a hectic time full of vacations, trips to the pool, sleepovers and sports games. A full schedule can make it easy to neglect the little things that can make a big difference in your energy efficiency. We put this tip at the top of the list because it is truly important for a properly functioning air conditioner. Make sure to change your air filters every month. Not only will this keep the sneeze, cough and watery eye-inducing summer allergies at bay, it will make sure that your AC unit isn’t working overtime. A clogged, dirty filter makes it harder to cool your home down, resulting in extra work for and strain on your AC. This can lead to short circuiting and even total system failure. Do yourself a favor and set an alarm on your phone, or mark it on your calendar to change your air filters for the first of every month. This simple task can seriously reduce your summer utility costs.
2. Only wash full loads.
Summer inevitably provides extra messes to clean up: Mud and grass stains from soccer and baseball, sweat-soaked clothes (from any outdoor activity) and lots and lots of barbecue sauce. When it’s time to clean things up again, clothes and dishes alike, make sure that you’re making the most of the energy spent. Don’t run the dishwasher or your washer and dryer for small or partial loads. You can save water and energy by waiting for a full dishwasher and a whole basket of laundry. Seeing as how you’ll be sweating your way through a few outfits a day, you shouldn’t have to wait too long.
3. Thermostat Management
If you have a programmable thermostat, set it for higher temperatures when you’ll be at work or out of the house. While at home, 78 degrees is the recommended temperature for comfort and efficiency. If this is a little too warm for your liking, supplement your air conditioner by running your ceiling fans. (Make sure to switch your fans back from winter mode to rotating counter-clockwise again.) The wind-chill factor created by your ceiling fans could make a room set to 78 degrees feel more like 72. This can save you the money you would spend to run your air conditioner for much longer.
Summer means a lot of extras – extra sunscreen, days at the ballpark, trips to the pool and scoops of ice cream. It doesn’t have to mean extra energy. Start taking the rights steps towards efficiency this spring and, come summertime, high temperatures won’t equal high energy bills.