With summer officially here and the temperatures edging higher with each passing day, here is a list of ways to help keep you cool while saving money — and energy!
• Set your thermostat to 78. Go higher, if the humidity is low enough and you feel comfortable. Turning a thermostat down to cool a room quicker doesn’t work, by the way — it makes the A/C run longer, not colder.
• Drink lots of water. This is good practice, anyway. Cold drinks lower your body’s core temperature and cool you down quickly.
• Draw your drapes. Keeping your blinds, shades and curtains closed — particularly on the west side of the house — a practice that helps keeps heat from getting inside in the first place.
• Turn off unnecessary heat-producing devices. Incandescent light bulbs are a big heat generator. Shut down electronic gear when you’re not using it.
• Use the microwave. Conventional cooking dumps heat in the house, but microwaves cook the food directly.
• Wash and dry clothes when the day is cool. Do laundry early in the day and late at night. Don’t forget clotheslines: they generate no heat in the house.
• Skip your dishwasher’s dry cycle. Rack your dishes and let them air dry instead.
• Open the bathroom window when showering. Vent heat and humidity outside, rather than back into the house. Obviously, you don’t want to put on a show for the neighbors. If you have privacy concerns, open up the window after dressing. Keep the bathroom door closed.
• Run your air conditioner fan on low. This is particularly helpful in areas with high summer humidity. The low air volume helps your A/C dehumidify.
• Keep heat-producers away from your thermostat. Don’t allow a closely located TV or water heater to convince your thermostat that it’s hotter than it really is.
• Check your refrigerator settings. The fridge takes heat out of your food and transfers it to your kitchen, so be sure you’re running it efficiently. The refrigerator works best when set between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the freezer around 5 degrees.
• Turn off your furnace pilot light. You can always re-light it next autumn.
• Close the fireplace damper. Don’t send cool air up the chimney. If your fireplace has a glass door, shut it.