Of course you want your home to be cool and comfortable during the dog days of summer.
But you also want to keep your energy use under control, so you can keep your bills under control, too.
Energy-smart day to day living is easier than you might think. You can save cold cash this summer with these energy savings tips.
To keep your home cool this summer, draw the curtains and close windows to keep hot air and the sun's burning rays out.
Set the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher when you're home. For every degree you raise your thermostat, you'll get a 3 to 5 percent energy savings on your utility bill. Consider installing a thermostat with a built-in timer.
While you can easily adjust the thermostat yourself to comfortable temperatures, it's more efficient to have a system that does it for you automatically.
Don't place your air conditioning thermostat near lamps, appliances, or in direct sunlight, however. Heat in these areas is sensed by the thermostat and could cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
Since energy use for lighting accounts for some 10 percent of your electric bill, you can save by lightening up on your wattage. If you're using 100-watt bulbs where 60-watt bulbs would do, consider replacing them.
Or, switch to fluorescent bulbs. These give off a warmer light that's closer to the light of incandescent bulbs.
Lighten up on your interior decorating, too: Pale colors for walls, draperies, rugs, and upholstery reflect light and can reduce the number of lamps needed to adequately light a room.
Outdoors, replace incandescent lighting with high-pressure sodium or outdoor fluorescent bulbs for additional savings. Or, try solar-powered pathway lamps (with batteries that store photovoltaic energy for nighttime us) or use high-efficiency sodium lamps for security lighting.
It's quite easy to cook up energy savings in the kitchen. If you keep range-top burners and reflectors clean, they'll reflect the heat better and require less energy for cooking.
If you cook with electricity, turn off the burners several minutes before the end of the allotted cooking time. The burners will stay hot long enough to finish the job without using any more electricity.
When you have a choice between using the range top and the oven, go with the former to save energy.
If you do use the oven, open it sparingly; each time you open it, heat escapes and the oven will use even more energy to maintain the temperature.
Use a pressure cooker and the microwave oven whenever possible; both save energy.
When you're boiling water, keep a lid on the pot; water boils faster when you use a top to hold in the heat.