Take simple actions to save energy during the summer heat
As summer temperatures rise again, Consumers Power Inc. offers 10 simple tips to help members stay cool and save energy.
1. Circulate. If you don’t have air conditioning, use portable or ceiling fans to move air throughout your home. Even a mild breeze can make you feel 3 to 4 degrees cooler.
2. Ventilate. In the morning or evening, open a window high on the cool side of your house and another one low on the other side to promote natural cross-ventilation.
3. Dial in your thermostat. If you have air conditioning, set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher. For every degree above 75, you can save about 2 percent on your bill. A programmable thermostat allows you to keep your house warmer when you are away and avoid unnecessary cooling costs.
4. Clean. A new or clean air filter can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent, and help it operate more safely and efficiently.
5. Clear. Make sure your air vents are not blocked by furniture or other items.
6. Block the sun. Use shades, curtains, drapes and other window coverings to block the sun and create an extra layer of insulation. According to the Department of Energy, medium-colored draperies can reduce heat gain by 33 percent. when closed, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by about 45 percent.
7. Power down. Turn off all heat-generating devices when not in use, including televisions, computers, stereos and lamps. Only wash full loads of dishes and clothes.
8. Fire up the grill. Avoid using your oven on hot days. Grill outside, cook on the stove-top or use your microwave oven instead.
9. Swap your bulbs. Change your bulbs to reduce lightingrelated heat. A standard 100-watt light bulb produces 10 percent light and 90 percent heat. Compact fluorescents or LEDs are much cooler and cheaper to operate.
10. Look for the Energy Star. If you plan to buy a portable air conditioner, ceiling fan or appliance, choose an Energy Star certified model that uses less energy and is cheaper to operate.