It’s the time of the year when our air conditioners are on 24/7 with no break in sight, afternoon storms and hurricanes, and humidity in the high 90’s. We use a lot of energy to make sure we can stay safe and comfortable in the summer, and it’s reflected in our electric bills. How can you stay comfortable and safe while lowering your energy output?
1. Air Conditioner Maintenance
Be sure that your air conditioner is performing optimally by doing regular maintenance. Clean the vents, fans, and filters in the unit, whether it’s a window unit, HVAC system, central air, ductless, etc. Keeping your air conditioner on “Energy Save Mode” will dramatically reduce the amount of money you spend on both maintenance and your electric bill.
2. Water Usage
Rather than taking that long, cool shower after you get home from the beach or pool, take a quick, energy efficient shower. Try to avoid baths, as they require far more water than showers do. Similarly, turn off the faucet when you’re washing dishes or brushing your teeth so that there’s less water being wasted down the drain.
This is an easy way to ensure that you’re not wasting energy by cooling air that is seeping outside or vice versa. Check your windows and doors for “air leaks”. Simply run your hand along the frame of the door or window to see if you feel any air coming in. You can find great weatherstripping or draft stoppers at any hardware store. This can also help ensure that no outside moisture gets inside, which is one of the top ways to prevent mold.
4. Use Natural Lighting
When you’re home, take advantage of the natural light that the Florida sun provides. You can use sheer or light filtering curtains or blinds to keep out harmful heat rays but allow in natural light. Our circadian rhythm is related to the night/day cycle so having natural light will not only help you save money on your energy bills but also improve your sleep. If you do have to use a light for a specific task, use an energy efficient bulb or smaller light.
5. Laundry Adjustments
Switching to cold water for your laundry cycles will save you quite a bit of money and help the environment. When the machine has to heat up the water to make it hot, it uses a good amount of energy. Most detergents work the same in both hot or cold water, and this will not affect your clothes or how clean they get.
6. Cooking Adjustments
Using an oven during the middle of the day, typically the hottest part of the day, can cause excess heat in your home, making your air conditioner work harder to cool the space. By waiting until the cooler times of day, the mornings and evenings, to cook, you are ensuring that you use less energy and spend less money on your electric bill. By eating cold foods, like salad or sushi or sandwiches, you are keeping the heat outside and not putting it in your kitchen.
7. Air Drying
You can save money by air drying your clothes instead of using a dryer. For lighter clothes, like cottons, linens, or blends, oftentimes it’s better for the garment to air dry on a rack either inside in a bathroom or somewhere with an exhaust fan.
8. Use Ceiling Fans
Keep the air circulating by using ceiling fans. Not only will this help keep the space cool, but it will prevent stagnant, stale air from causing odors in your home or creating mold or mildew. Keep the ceiling fans clean and optimal by dusting them weekly.
9. Use Energy-Efficient Appliances
If you’re able to get energy-efficient appliances, they will decrease your electric bills dramatically. You can cut down your bills up to 50% by using appliances that work using less electricity than others. Microwaves, refrigerators, air conditioners, stoves, and more are all available in energy-efficient models.
10. Optimize Your Temperatures
Keep your refrigerators and freezers in optimal condition by using the correct temperatures for both. The ideal refrigerator temperature is 38°F, with the ideal freezer temperature being 5°F. This way they won’t work too hard to keep your food fresh and cold while maintaining temperatures. Additionally, the ideal inside temperature for a house is between 68°F and 72°F during the day. It is recommended to keep your air conditioning units around 73-75°F at night to not waste energy.