stay-cool

The following post is a guest post by Hilary of CallMePower.ca. Enjoy!

Don’t let your utility bills soar high along with the rising temperatures this summer! Here are some handy tips for keeping your utility bills low as temperatures rise.

Fire the Dryer

Did you know that after refrigerators, clothes dryers are the biggest energy-consuming household appliance? Reducing (or stopping altogether) your use of the clothes dryer can have a big impact on your utility bills. Take advantage of hot, sunny weather by drying your clothes outside. Not only will air-drying your clothes save you money on your utility bills, it is also gentler on your clothes and will help them last longer.

To maximise energy-saving on laundry, wash your clothes in cold water. As about 90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes towards heating water, washing your clothes in cold water can have a big impact on your utility bills, and has the added benefit of keeping your clothes bright for longer! You can also find detergent that has been specially formulated for cold water to ensure your clothes are getting cleaned as well as they would be in hotter water.

Go with the Flow

Ensuring good air circulation throughout your home can make a big difference in terms of your comfort indoors and can help you avoid using (expensive) air conditioning. There are several easy things that you can do to improve airflow in your home. First, if you have any ceiling fans, make sure that they are set to rotate counter-clockwise in the summer; this will push hot air upwards and outwards create a cooling effect in the room. Also make sure to keep the heating/air-conditioning vents in your home open and clear of anything that might be blocking air flow in your home.

Fill up the Fridge

Keeping your fridge full will also keep it from warming up every you open it, and it won’t have to work as hard to stay cool. Fill any extra space in your fridge with bottles of water, juice, or iced tea (which you can make yourself!) – they will help the fridge maintain its temperature and are refreshing! On particularly hot days, try to limit the number of times you open your fridge so that it doesn’t work harder than it has to.

Stop Cooking

Spending hours in the kitchen over a hot stove or in front of a hot oven during the summer is both unpleasant and unnecessary. Instead, make the most of fresh, bountiful summer produce to make salads and room-temperature dishes. Summer is a great time to get reacquainted with your blender, if you already have one – whipping up fresh smoothies for breakfast and cold soups for lunches or dinner are quick and energy-efficient meal options that are cool and refreshing. Consider using your microwave or a grill for heating food, both of which are more energy efficient cooking options than using an oven or a stove.

Be Appliance Smart

While summer is the perfect time to be lazy in the kitchen, keep on the lookout for any wasted energy use in the rest of your home. You can eliminate wasted, vampire energy by making sure to unplug electronics and chargers when they’re not in use, or by plugging them to power strips that you can switch off.

Stay in the Dark

Chances are in the summer the sun is bright enough that you can turn off some of the lights in your home. It’s a good idea to try to keep the lights off as much as possible during the summer, as any light gives off heat (which is generally unwanted during the summer). If you haven’t already, think about switching any incandescent lightbulbs in your home to LED or CFL. While they may cost slightly more to buy, they use considerably less energy than traditional bulbs, and generate much less heat. If you are thinking of making the switch, keep an eye out for any coupons or sales happening at your local hardware store for extra savings. Also try to keep your curtains or blinds drawn during the day in rooms that receive a lot of sunlight to keep them from getting too hot and stuffy.

Hilary is the author of CallMePower.ca, a website that provides information about energy prices in Canada to help Canadians find the best prices for their electricity and gas supply. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, DIY projects, and scoring deals at thrift stores.