In Alberta, the transition to summer means that days are longer, and everything seems just a little bit brighter. It also signals a break from costs associated with heating our homes. Less utility expenses means more money to spend on summer fun, but don’t overlook the major power consumers in your home. Power bills can add up during the summer months as costs associated with items like air conditioning and fan use rise. Here are some practical ideas to help you save on utilities year round while limiting your carbon footprint!
1. Limit Dryer Time
No one likes wrinkly pants, but consider a compromise. Throw your just-washed items in the dryer for ten minutes to steam out those wrinkles, and transfer to a drying rack or flat surface to finish the drying process. Your clothes will be ready to wear in no time!
2. Limit A/C and Fan Use
High heat during the summer months can be uncomfortable, and if you’re lucky enough to enjoy an air conditioned living space you know just how great they can be. Despite this, these systems are major power consumers in the home. To limit associated expenses, try setting your air conditioner‘s thermostat to a warmer heat setting. You’ll still feel relief when coming in from outdoors, and you’ll be saving more of your hard earned cash. Don’t leave the air conditioners and fans running when you’re out, and look to practical ways to compliment your system’s cooling efforts by keeping curtains drawn in the heat of the afternoon and drink plenty of cool water.
3. Pack Your Dishwasher
Fill ‘er up! Your dishwasher is working hard whether it is half full, or filled to capacity. Make the most of each load by loading it to capacity, and washing pots and other large items by hand. You’ll run fewer weekly loads and maximize efficiency.
4. Don’t Use Dry Cycle
The element in your dishwasher is not only used during the washing process, but continues by drying your dishes near the end of the cycle. Consider setting a timer to avoid the dry cycle! Open up your washer, and let those dishes air dry.
5. Wash in Cold Water
Technological advances in laundering appliances and detergents mean that your clothes can be washed in cold water. You’ll save on hot water and avoid accidentally shrinking your garments.
6. Turn the Lights Off
Get into the habit of turning lights off in unused spaces, or limit lighting sources in areas of high use. Get the whole family in on it! Our extended sunlight hours make this an easy cost saver during the summer months.
7. Unplug Unused Appliances
It might seem silly, but appliances that are plugged in are drawing a small amount of power even while they’re turned off, just by being part of the electrical circuit. Going out of town? Never use that spare room television? Consider unplugging while not in use.
8. High Efficiency Lights
If you haven’t joined the masses in transitioning your lighting from incandescent to high efficiency LED, what are you waiting for? These lights are longer lasting and save you money each and every time they’re used, in comparison with their incandescent predecessors.
9. Programmable Thermostats
Programmable thermostats are a must-have for any home or business owner all year round. Set your thermostats to maintain lower temperature when you’re sleeping or away, and increase that temperature to a comfortable room temperature when you are home. Want to save even more? Grab some cozy slippers and your favorite sweater at home. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll save.
10. Check for drafts
Older homes, in particular, commonly develop drafty areas where cold air can enter and warm air can leave. Check your window frames and doors for drafts, and install weather stripping to keep cold air out.
Written by: Deana Faria