Monday, August 1, 2022

How to Save Money this Summer by Conserving Energy at Home

Save Energy Be Eco-friendly at Home

For the past few weeks I've researched sustainable ways to save money and conserve home energy usage. It's been an extremely hot, dry southwestern U.S. summer. 

To start, I examined my current home energy conservation/usage plan. With a few simple adjustments, I am saving money and greening the planet as well. Keep on reading to find out what I did.

The cost of living has shot up, and people are feeling the effects of inflation right now. Many of us are searching for new ways to economize this summer and onwards. 

I encourage you to look below for tips that show you frugal, eco-friendly energy saving techniques to use this summer at home.

Use green home cooling methods 
before resorting to air 

Green Cooling Methods for Summer at Home

Employ passive ventilation methods in the early morning or later in the evening by opening doors, windows, skylights, vents, louvres, and other openings. 

Let fresh air flow into and through your home for cooling, to remove moisture, and get rid of airborne pollutants.

Close windows and draw room darkening shades, curtains, or blinds, especially during peak hours of sunshine.

Opaque or insulated window coverings help block out the sun’s heat, makes it easier to keep your room cool, and reduces the need for fossil fuel used with air conditioning (therefore reducing utility bills).

Room Darkening Drapes to Cool Home in Summer

Set your ceiling fan to run counterclockwise on a fast setting in the summer to push the cold air down. 

When you turn on a ceiling fan, it creates a “wind-chill effect” that helps you feel more comfortable indoors.

Make sure to turn the fan off, before you leave the room.

For tips about how to select and install an energy efficient ceiling fan read this post.

Set air conditioning thermostat as 
high as 

According to results from the 2020 Residential Energy Consumption Survey, 88% of U.S. households use air conditioning (AC) to cool their homes.

This makes AC the biggest summer electric energy drain in most households. 

Keep your air conditioning system working in tip top shape. Schedule an AC unit tune-up each year, change filter often, and make necessary repairs as soon as they are needed. 

When AC is on, for every degree you lower the temperature, your energy consumption will increase by about six percent. So, it’s important to find a balance between comfort and power usage.

Keep thermostat AC temperature as high as comfortable (approximately 78 degrees Fahrenheit), and use a fan to circulate the cool air. A slight reduction in energy use can maintain comfort as well as save money.

Program your thermostat to turn off, when you’re not home. There’s no need to keep your home cooler than necessary when nobody is there to enjoy it!

Conserve water, a finite natural 

Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator. This beats running tap water to cool it for drinking. This measure saves 200 to 300 gallons of water a month. 

The water that comes out of faucets in your home or apartment accounts for more than
15 % of your total indoor water use or 1 trillion gallons of water across America each year. That's why it's so important to fix all leaking faucets ASAP.  

The aerator tip of the faucet determines the maximum flow rate of the faucet. If you have an older kitchen faucet, consider getting an inexpensive new, water-effective one. Do the same for your bathroom faucets and shower heads too.

When preparing fruits and veggies, refrain from using running water to clean them. Instead, fill the sink or a large bowl with water and immerse produce to clean. 

Afterward, water can go to watering plants in your garden and cuttings can be dumped on your compost pile. This can save 150 to 250 gallons of water per month. See Water Conservation Tips to Save Money and Green Daily Living for additional ideas.

Update lighting to save money and energy 

Use daylight to naturally light your home whenever possible

Traditional incandescent light bulbs use the most electricity, and must be replaced more often than their energy efficient alternatives. 

Halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), and light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) use anywhere from 25-80 percent less electricity and last 3 to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.

Energy Efficient Lights Conserve Energy at Home

Make the switch to energy-efficient lighting, and get the same amount of light for less money

Lighting accounts for 15% of an average home's electricity use. When that household uses LED lighting, it saves approximately $225 in energy costs per year.

Although energy efficient bulbs are more expensive off the shelf, efficient energy use and longer lifetimes means that the cost is less in the long run.

While you're at it, install solar-powered outdoor lights instead of electric. They are inexpensive and a greener source of energy.

Be mindful about your energy
 usage choices

Run the dishwasher only when it's full. Use the eco-setting, if your dishwasher has one.

Operate your washing machine at times when you have a full load of clothes. 

Except for the dirtiest of loads, wash clothes in cold water.

Set your refrigerator temperature between 37-40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer between 0 and 5. 

Refrigerators and freezers operate most efficiently when full. Keep refrigerator and freezer full, even if you have to use water bottles to take up empty space. 

Just be careful about overfilling these appliances, as this will restrict airflow and cause the motors to work harder.

Check refrigerator and freezer doors and note whether doors are sealed tightly. One rule of thumb is if a dollar bill shut in the door is easy to pull out, it’s time to replace the gasket.

Your clothes dryer is one of the largest energy guzzlers in the home, often consuming as much power as a new refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washer combined. 

Summertime is a good time to air-dry clothing when possible. If you have to use your machine, be sure to clean the lint filter after each use, use the auto-dry or moisture-sensor setting, and don't add wet items to a load that's already partially dry.

note: This post does not discuss major home renovations including converting from electric or gas to whole house solar power, upgrading all appliances to energy star equipment, replacing conventional windows with triple pane windows, new roofing, etc. Its purpose is to show inexpensive ways to save big.

Find new ways to be thrifty and live more sustainably. One way I've found to do that is to check with my utility company, and get a discount for using energy only in off-peak hours

I run my washing machine, dishwasher, and dryer only during off peak hours and reap monetary and eco-rewards (the grid is not taxed at its most vulnerable times). I encourage you to see whether your utility company offers a plan that reduces the price you pay for home energy too.

Adopt those energy conservation methods that resonate with you to save money and help reduce your carbon footprint this summer and beyond. 

What are you doing to conserve natural resources, save money, and simplify living? 

Please explain in the comments section below.

Have you used any of the methods outlined above? 

What other things are you doing to green living?

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I post on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please add to your online reading list, as I offer wellness and color tips at the place where a healthy lifestyle and colors intersect. 

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Friday, July 15, 2022

July Fun Facts, Special Days, and Folklore

July Fun, Special Days, and Folklore

There are many reasons why July is a fabulous month. Please keep on reading to learn which July Fun Facts, Special Days, and Folklore delights me. Perhaps you'll find some new July things to love too. 💓

The unique symbols for people born during the month of July include a birthstone, 2 birth month flowers, and 2 astrological signs. Please look below to discover what they are.

Ruby is the birthstone of July

Ruby is the birth stone of July

Fiery red rubies have been prized throughout the ages and called the “King of Precious Stones.” They attract attention and dazzle, primarily because their deep red color is eye-catching, and produced by traces of the mineral, red chromium. 


Larkspur and Water Lily are July Birth Flowers

Larkspurs belong to a group of tall showy flowers that bloom in beautiful colors including purple, blue, red, yellow, or white. The petals fuse together forming a spur and hence the flower's name. 

Larkspur is a birth flower for July

Water lily, the second July Birth Flower thrives in water as the name implies. Water lily blossom colors range from white to pink, yellow, red, or blue flowers; many of these are of hybrid origin.

Water Lily is a Birth Flower for July

There are 2 Star Signs in July

For those born July 1st through July 22nd, the star sign is Cancer. For those born on or after July 23rd, the star sign is Leo.

Cancer is a Star Sign for July

Those born under the sign of Cancer are said to be loyal friends with great emotional depth.

Leo is a Star Sign for July

Those born under the sign of Leo are said to be very proud people who display great leadership.

More Things to Love about July

The lunar landing happened on July 16, 1969.

July is a great month to go plastic-free and celebrate "Plastic Free July." 

July is the second summer month after June. It's place in the calendar provides time to get used to hotter weather, but plenty of time to swim, play sports, or have many daylight hours to play.

There are several countries which have their Independence Day during the month of July.

The 4th of July is Independence Day in the USA, with fireworks, cookouts, and informal gatherings.

July is usually the warmest month in the Northern Hemisphere, and it can get mega hot. To avoid dehydration, it's key to drink plenty of water. Strong summer rays make wearing sunscreen every day an important thing to remember. 

July 15th is National Give Something Away Day. This is an ideal time to donate items and money, give of your time, and share your bounty. 

To encourage additional generosity and love in July read Best Ways to Inspire Gratitude with Affirmations. 

Sometimes the hot, long days of July are called the "dog days of summer."

Because the temperature climbs in July, it's best to move more slowly than usual. Some people even take an afternoon siesta to relieve stress and restore equilibrium.

Nap time afternoon siesta

July is a good month to catch up on fun reading. See "Summertime and Reading is Easy and Awesome" for book ideas.

Selfcare by relaxing with summer reading

July is a wonderful month to serve the best tomato gazpacho soup to cool off. 

Colorful, flavorful Tomato Gazpacho

In the southern hemisphere, July is, on average, the coldest month of the year, being the second month of winter.

I always eat a lot of fruits and veggies in July and I researched these:

Read about in-season crops in the southern hemisphere during July.

See which fruit is in season here in the northern hemisphere this July. 

Discover three northern hemisphere in-season summer veggies that are health superstars.

July was named after Julius Caesar, and chosen by the Roman senate, because Caesar was born in July.

July 30th is International Day of Friendship, designated by the United Nations General Assembly to honor and give thanks for worldwide relationships that promote peace, unity, and understanding.

July Folklore sayings include the following:

Ne’er trust a July sky.

If ant hills are high in July, the coming winter will be hard.

No tempest, good July.

Whatever July and August do not boil, September cannot fry.

The Buck Full Moon in July, Brightest Full Moon of the Year

July’s full moon, the Buck Full Moon occurs on Wednesday, July 13th. It reaches peak illumination at 2:38 P.M.EDT, and is the biggest, brightest super moon of the year. Here's why it’s called the Buck Moon.

Buck Full Moon in July

No matter how busy or laid back July is for you, wishing you a fabulous month of July fun and happenings to enjoy. 🎈🎡🎵🎇

Before you go, please comment below. Which fun facts and July pastimes appeal to you? 

Which hemisphere do you live in and how do you celebrate special days that fall in the month of July? I'd love to know.

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