Home Tips For an Eco-Friendly Summer
The summer is quickly approaching, and when we think about the season, thoughts of air conditioning and excess lighting often come to mind. In other words, a wild summer may result in a rise in your electric bill. Maybe this year, it’s time to make a change where you take the initiative to save energy and help the planet while paying less for your monthly utility bills. If the big corporations can work towards a better tomorrow with smarter infrastructure and a reduction in waste, then you can do your part as well.
While the idea may seem daunting at first, the good news is that there’s many ways that you can enjoy the warmer months while taking a stance for a better planet. Here’s your starter guide to an eco-friendly summer.
Keeping Your Home Properly Sealed Is Key
Even if you live in a state with moderate temperatures, chances are pretty good you’ll be using the air conditioner for at least part of the day. That’s fine if you leave it at a moderate temperature. The problem comes when you use it excessively or if your home isn’t properly sealed. The latter can become an issue if the perimeter of your windows and doors aren’t maintained and caulked. If your home has this issue, when you turn on the air, your AC unit has to run longer to cool your home because a good portion of the air is leaving outside.
In most cases, standard AC units are powered by fossil fuel burning electricity. The burning of these fuels releases nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gasses into the air. These horrible gasses become trapped by our atmosphere, contributing to global warming and conditions like acid rain. While you may not be able to invest in a new energy-efficient air conditioner, you can conserve energy by ensuring the power you use isn’t going to waste.
It’s wise to check the seal around doors and windows regularly this summer because, in addition to the energy you waste by trying to cool a drafty house, gaps and cracks can also allow pests to get into your house. Once they’re in, it’s tough to get them out. Also, remember that without the proper precautions, your dog can also bring ticks and fleas into the home, so check them after their romps in the yard.
Pests can be unsightly, and they can get into your food and cause unsanitary conditions, and that’s the last thing you want during a summer of fun.
Cut Down On Energy Costs
Many families use the summer months as a time to go on a vacation to a fun getaway. Depending on where you go, the trip can cost a pretty penny. So, do yourself a favor and save some money on your monthly utilities so you can take that dream trip.
There are many ways to do so. We can continue on the air conditioning topic by recommending that you invest in a smart thermostat. Many folks leave the air conditioning on at the same temperature all day, even when they’re away at work and school. However, you're essentially wasting energy when you’re cooling an empty house. Remedy the situation with a smart thermostat, which you can set to different temperatures during the course of the day. So, you could set it to a higher temp, which will require it to run less often when you're out, and you can program it so that it gets colder as you’re about to arrive home.
Now that you’re getting the eclectic bill under control, you can start to work on the other utilities, including the water bill. Start with the totally free methods, including:
- Taking shorter showers;
- Installing low-flow shower heads;
- Making an effort to turn the faucet off while you brush your teeth;
- Hand washing the dishes instead of using the dishwasher.
Change How You Think About Lighting
Finally, turn your attention to the lighting in your home and use the fact that the summer has longer days to your advantage. Whenever possible, keep the lights off entirely as you depend on the sun's power.
Open the drapes, let the sunshine in, and bask in it. If necessary, move around the furniture. If you like to read during the day, move your favorite chair by the window. If you work from home, change up your workspace layout so that you sit near the window. In most cases, you’ll have enough light to work the majority of your shift.
One of the best ways to save on lighting and other utility costs is to consider installing solar panels. While there will be some initial costs, once the panels are installed, you’ll see a dramatic decrease in your monthly bill, and you’ll get the same quality lighting that you received from the electric company. The solar panels will provide all the energy you need for your other energy-dependent devices in your home, so you’ll be set for life.
Continue to save on lighting costs by switching out your incandescent bulbs and replacing them with LED alternatives because they’re more powerful and will last longer, so you need to replace them less often. Any bulb will have a shorter lifespan if you keep it on all day. So make it a habit to turn the lights off when you leave the room and unplug your other appliances too if you don’t need them. You’ll also see a difference on your utility bill.
These are just a few ways you can live your best eco-friendly summer. When you think about it, you shouldn't spend this much time indoors anyway during these warmer months. Get outside, have an adventure, and you can help the planet in the process.