With summer officially here, we’re all looking for ways to stay comfortable and cool without wearing out our wallets or causing harm to the environment. The days are long, sunny, and hot, and many of us are noticing a spike in our hydro bill this time of the year as our air conditioners struggle to keep us cool. Minimizing your air conditioner use in the summer is terrific for both your wallet and the environment. Here are some easy ways to keep your home at a more comfortable temperature while the sun blazes outside and to minimize your other energy use to off-set the cost of cooling your home:
Say no to the stove
A stove or oven’s job is to heat, so it’s no wonder that using it contributes to the overall temperature of your home! Cooking outdoors on a BBQ or grill is a great way to manage interior temperature. Plus, grilled meat or veggies with a nice seasonal salad sounds like a perfect summer meal! If rainy weather or extreme heat prevent outdoor cooking, try using a toaster oven or microwave for cooking smaller meals. These appliances will keep your kitchen cooler than a stove or oven on hot summer days.
Ditch the dryer
As with stoves, clothes dryers are heat producers and energy guzzlers. Using an outdoor clothes line or an indoor drying rack is a great way to keep the heat down while lowering energy costs.
Using the air-dry setting or leaving the door open to dry the dishes after the wash cycle can save money on your energy bills, as well as keeping your kitchen cooler.
Turn off the lights
Switching to LED light bulbs can cut electricity use by up to 75%, but even energy-efficient bulbs give off heat when on, so take advantage of the long days by using lights minimally.
Ceiling fans are a great investment. Not only do they keep you cool, but they only cost about five cents an hour to operate, substantially less than your A/C. Speaking of fans, use bath and other ventilating fans sparingly; in just one hour they can push out an entire household of cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter. Make sure to turn them off once they’ve done what they’re supposed to do.
Throw some shade
Using window coverings and shades can minimize heat during the day and turning off your A/C and opening windows at night can naturally keep your home cool without dipping into your wallet.
Be pet smart
Don’t forget, our furry family members are probably feeling the heat as much as we are, if not more! Make sure your pets are well hydrated, and limit walks with the pooch to early morning or after dusk to avoid overheating. Another clever way to keep your animals cool is with homemade pup-sicles or cat-sicles, which are usually something like an ice cube made of chicken broth or tuna water, with a couple of small treats frozen inside. There are many great recipes online, but our favourite is this one, which works for both dogs and cats!
Invest in a programmable thermostat
For an initial cost of anywhere from $40 to $199, you could save on cooling and heating costs by about 15% per year by adjusting temperature settings to energy-saving levels when you’re sleeping or away from home.
Finally, make sure you check the summer time-of-use schedule and pricing provided by the Ontario Energy Board and make your energy consumption choices accordingly. For example, running your dishwasher before going to bed, during off-peak hours, can save you almost 7 cents/kWh compared to running it at 4pm. Adjusting your schedule in this way is one of the easiest things you can do to save on energy costs.
From our families to yours, we hope you have a happy, safe, and healthy summer!