Q: How can I keep energy costs down?
Here’s a few things you can do now that can help to keep energy costs down:
Natural Ventilation. Clean your screens and let the fresh island trades cool your home. Window tinting on existing windows can reduce heat...ask your dealer for window tinting (or new windows) with a Solar Heat Gain Co-efficient (SHGC) of .40 or less.
Landscaping. Drought resistant native trees and shrubs can shade windows and reduce heat around your home, especially on the warmer south side.
Fans. Keep fans clean, and use them instead of air conditioners whenever possible. If you’re installing ceiling fans, choose Energy StarTM rated models. Be sure fans with lights use compact fluorescents.
Refrigerator. Unplug your refrigerator to clean the condenser coils so that the compressor doesn’t work as hard. Many new refrigerator models slide out easily, or you might try furniture or appliance “slides” to move older models with less effort while protecting floors. Coils should be cleaned yearly, or more often if you have pets that shed. Plan ahead and defrost items in the refrigerator...and cool down hot foods before storing them. If you can, locate your refrigerator away from heat sources like the range or dishwasher.
Check that refrigerator doors seal well: close the door on a dollar bill. The door should hold the bill, and you should feel a slight drag as you pull it out. If you don’t, consider replacing the seals. If your refrigerator is over 10 years old, consider a newer model which can use just half the energy. Be careful to compare size and features that can affect energy use, and look for the Energy StarTM label.
Lighting. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have improved in price, size and quality. They use only about one-third the energy of standard incandescents...and burn much cooler.
And when its hot outside remember: Cooking. Use a microwave instead of the range. It will use less energy and won’t add as much heat to your living area, or enjoy a nice barbecue outside!