As summer heats up, your bills don’t need to rise
That few extra degrees of warmth that summer brings to West Central Minnesota makes a difference. Not only is staying cool a challenge, but water and energy bills can spike.
Here is the best advice from property management pros to not only beat the heat, but also save on water and electric costs.
Save energy while saving water
Here are a few ways to save water, and at the same time save on your electric bill.
- Repair any dripping faucets promptly
- Install water saving devices such as low-flow showerheads and aerators on faucets
- Shorten your showers by just two minutes from your normal duration- it makes a difference!
- Use the air-dry setting on your dishwasher
Note that water conservation is important during the summer, even if you are on well water. If drought conditions exist, water levels could drop, which is hard on well pumps.
Save loads on laundry
Wash all loads in cold water. Thanks to the effectiveness of modern laundry detergents you no longer need to use hot water in order to get your clothes clean. Studies have found that washing your clothes in cold gets them just as clean as washing in hot. The electricity savings of washing in cold vs. hot is substantial.
You should also wash full loads (but not overfilled). Even though your washing machine may have different settings that will control the amount of water it uses, it will still use close to the same amount of energy regardless of how much your washing.
Part of the wisdom in not overfilling your washer is to not overfill your dryer. The dryer is designed to take care of a normal size load. If you have to run an extra cycle to fully dry a jumbo load, it will double the energy use. Also, clean the filter after each use to maintain efficiency.
If you live in an apartment, you likely cannot line dry clothes outside, but a stylish, wall-mounted collapsible drying rack can fit just about anywhere indoors.
Be Kind to Your Refrigerator/Freezer
Your fridge will run more efficiently in hot weather if you avoid opening it too often. Your food will also stay fresher longer. Think through all the ingredients you need to pull out, then gather them back up to put away. Don’t set the temperature colder than necessary- between 36 F and 42 F is ideal. Set the freezer control between -5 F and +6 F. You can pick up a two pack of thermometers designed for your fridge and freezer at Target for about $8.
Many people ignore maintenance on their refrigerator until there is a problem. Regular cleaning, including dusting off the coils or filters and checking the rubber seals on the door will help the unit’s efficiency and may extend its lifespan.
When it comes time to buy a new fridge, make sure it has the ENERGY STAR® label to save on utility costs.
Update Your Water Heater
Your home’s largest energy consumer is your electric water heater. When you switch to more energy-efficient options, you can save up to 40% on your electric bill. The heater should be set to 120 F for optimum efficiency.
If you are still using traditional incandescent bulbs, you are adding to the heat of your home and reducing energy efficiency. Plus, these types of bulbs are being phased out, so now is a good time to switch over to cool and efficient LEDs.
Keep Cool Wisely
According to research compiled by Healthline.com, getting overheated and suffering from even mild dehydration can cause bad moods, headaches and lack of concentration. So stay cool and drink plenty of water. You can also take cool showers or baths, limit strenuous activity, and avoid using your oven or stove if possible.
When cooling with air conditioners, make sure all doors and windows are closed and curtains are drawn for greater operating efficiency. Use ceiling fans to circulate cold air, even while the AC is running.
No AC? Open windows or doors on opposite sides of your home and place a fan to draw a cooling breeze in next to one, and a fan facing out on the opposite side to push warm air out on the other. Easy breezy!