“Conserve energy” is a common refrain during these hot summer months. Warm season electricity bills can sometimes cause sticker shock, and the common culprit is your A/C unit.
You’ve probably heard of many ways to keep your A/C from operating in overdrive – everything from adjusting your thermostat to unplugging electronic devices are common tricks of the trade.
So rather than list all of the well-known ways to cut your household energy consumption, we present you with some unconventional tips that also can help you conserve.
- Cook outdoors: Grilling already is one of America’s favorite summer pastimes, but firing up the grill doesn’t have to be limited to weekends or the 4th of July holiday. Instead of switching on your stovetop or turning on the oven, which heats up your home, cook outside to make life more comfortable inside.
- Cooking tips: Salad, fruit, nuts, cereal, olives and cheese are just a few types of food that do not require any cooking in the oven or stove. Eating more uncooked food will help reduce your electricity usage, and it’s easier to do in the summer since there are so many fresh fruits and vegetables available.
- Lock the doors: When hot air seeps into your home through cracks in the door frame or windows, it’s working against your A/C unit. One way to avoid these leaks is to lock your doors and windows, which ensures that they’re closed as tightly as possible. It’s also a good safety measure.
- Shading: Trees or shrubs growing by your home can offer enough shade to lower your electricity usage, but not everyone has such helpful landscaping. If you’re in that boat, visit your local garden store to find some large potted plants or trees that can block sunlight entering your home. Not only will they block the heat, they’re also attractive and can give you more privacy from neighbors. Think about outdoor shades, too. If you can stop direct sunlight before it strikes the outside of the window, you’ll get more benefit than you will with shades on the inside.
- Savings goals: Do your kids frequently leave the lights on? How often do you see their video game consoles running unattended? One way to curb wasteful behavior like this is by implementing monthly household energy savings goals by comparing your monthly usage vs. the same period a year ago. Establish rewards for your kids to achieve if you meet your goals, and create accountability if you do not.
- (R)ice: Setting the thermostat a few degrees warmer can scale back your A/C usage significantly. You may not even notice a few degrees difference in temperature. But for others, trying to fall asleep in the heat is nearly impossible. Here’s a trick: Place a bag of rice in the freezer, and then put it inside your pillowcase at night. When your head is cool, the rest of your body often follows.
- Low-e windows: The downside of using drapes, blinds or shudders to block sunlight from heating your home in the summer is that your house may feel like a tomb. Natural light is an important source of Vitamin D, and it can improve your mood, too. One way to enjoy the benefits of sunlight without cranking up the A/C in your home is to purchase low-emissivity (low-e) windows, which minimize the ultraviolet and infrared light entering your home without blocking visible light. Learn more.
- Make every A/C smart: Just because you have a wall or window-mounted A/C unit doesn’t mean you can’t get the benefits of a smart thermostat. Check out the smartAC kit from Think Eco, which can turn your A/C into a wifi-enabled device you can control from your smart phone.
- Faucet aerators: Faucet aerators are a double-saver. You’ll cut back on your water consumption, and your electricity usage will decline since you’ll use less hot water. Check out our selection of faucet aerators here.
- Ceiling fan: Maybe this isn’t completely unconventional, but try turning on your ceiling fan in your bedroom at night. Then adjust your thermostat one degree higher. You may discover that the ceiling fan provides you the same comfort level, and you’ll be assisting your A/C unit.