Monday, August 1, 2022

How to Save Money this Summer by Conserving Energy at Home

Save Energy Be Eco-friendly at Home

For several years I've explored sustainable ways to save money and conserve home energy usage. The predictions are in for an extremely hot, dry southwestern U.S. summer, and I'm prepared to save and conserve wherever I can. 

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. 

Post Updated 6/20/2023

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, and louvres. 

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?

I read and appreciate every comment, but will not be able to publish those with links in them. Thanks for understanding.

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  1. I enjoyed all the tips. I consume large amounts of fruits and vegetables and have frequently thought about the amount of water used to clean them. Filling up the sink or bowl with water to clean them is a great idea to cut down on water usage. Using the vegetable cleaning water to water plants is an added plus.

    1. Thanks so much for the visit and comment. Wishing you a great day and beautiful Aug.

  2. Summer is usually the highest energy consumption of the year... Me sleeping during the I make sure to have thick darkening curtains in the room so it gets cool right away and keeps it cool all through out. Great tips you have here!

    1. Thanks so much DJ for your comment. Glad room darkening curtains work so well for you. Have a beautiful day and be well.

  3. Wow Nancy - you really did a lot of valuable research. Right now we are experiencing an oppressive heatwave so these tips are very helpful. I'm definitely going to start using our ceiling fans and a few of the other tips. Thank You ..

    1. Thanks so much Judee for the kind comment. Glad you're thinking green.

  4. Nancy, These are such wonderful and helpful ideas that you researched. With the heat wave I'm going to start using my ceiling fan and implement some of the other idea. Thanks

    1. Seems we're thinking similar thoughts. I'm going to turn on my ceiling fan right now. Have a beautiful day and be well.

  5. Great post! I'm happy to say we cool our house the green way!! Thanks for sharing at My Big Fat Menopausal Life's Share the Wealth party! Hope you have a fabulous week!

    1. Thanks for your kind comment and happy to know you cool yourself the green way. Thanks for hosting the My Big Fat Menopausal Life's Share the Wealth party! Love it.

  6. This is a very timely post with concerns about the environment and rising energy costs, Nancy! We don't have central A/C in most homes in the UK, however our gas and electricity prices have doubled in the last 3 months so your excellent tips are very helpful. We are also conserving water in the south of England due to a near drought. We have a hose pipe ban in effect which means that if you water your garden or wash your car with a hose you face heavy fines. You can't even fill a paddling pool with a bucket. So it's great to have your tips!

    1. Thanks so much April for your thoughtful comment. Glad to know my energy saving, money saving tips will help. Have a beautiful day.