Avoid high electric bills by reducing summer energy use
Getting an electric bill in the middle of a hot summer is similar to sticker shock when you’re shopping for a new car. By using central air conditioning or even individual window units in your home for two or three months, your utility bill shoots up so much, it’s hard to contain your stunned reaction.
With the prospect of these shocking bills coming your way again this year, you may want to consider ways to reduce your electricity use to offset the air conditioning you’re bound to use when a heat wave descends up you and your family.
The California Energy Commission recommended starting your savings in the kitchen. It takes much longer to cool down your kitchen if you use the oven rather than your stovetop or microwave oven. A toaster oven, which can accommodate small meals, also adds relatively little heat to the kitchen.
Your refrigerator’s freezer works far more efficiently when it’s filled with food. It needs to work harder to keep smaller amounts of food cold, and when you open the door, the filled shelves keep the freezer from losing the cold as quickly.
Use cold or warm water for washing clothes and line-dry washed items whenever you can. If you need to use the dryer, wait until you have enough laundry to run a full load and remember to clean the dryer’s lint trap after every use.
Do the same with your dishwasher – run it only when it’s filled with dishes, turn off the dry cycle and let the dishware air dry.
Using small appliances
Rely less on your air conditioner and more on electric fans. Window fans are particularly helpful in removing your home’s hot air by exhausting it to the outside, then drawing in air from outdoors to cool off your house.
Just as you turn off lights when you leave a room, get in the habit of turning off appliances when they’re not in use. Unplug electronics and chargers, because – they can eat up electricity while they’re turned off but still plugged in. For computers and printers, turn off their electrical connection in one step by turning off the power strip when you’re done with the computer.
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