It’s a sizzling summer and the last thing I want to do is create more heat in the house. Many people grill out- so smart! Unfortunately, we don’t have one right now, but we do still cook outdoors.
History buffs know that -particularly in steamy southern climates- kitchens were often built separate from the rest of the house. This kept the main living space cooler and protected it from kitchen fires.
We have gone back to our roots, putting our handy dandy toaster oven on the screened-in porch (a garage or covered area works too). We make toast, fries & chicken tenders, veggies burgers & bacon and even calzones out there!
It’s fun to light up a lantern or pumpkin on Halloween night, but would you leave them on all year? Some devices (TVs, coffee makers, printers, computers, and electric clocks) are always active …and they’re quietly sucking up energy. Spooooooky! Unplug these energy vampires (that’s a real term) until you actually use them. You could see a lower electric bill as well!
For a quick upgrade replace the bulbs in your 3-way light fixtures with LEDs to reduce energy use by up to 90%. Check out the label to make sure the “brightness” and “light appearance” are what you want. Also- speaking from experience- make sure the bulb fits in your lamp before you buy it. Then sit back and forget about it: LEDs last up to 50,000 hours. Easy peasy!
Does your energy bill compare your total use to other homes nearby? Energy companies are correcting for a behavior called the “false consensus effect.” Basically, it’s when you think your behavior must be what everyone else does, so that makes it ok. An example is keeping the house so warm in the winter that you wear shorts. By showing people that their energy use is higher than others, energy companies have significantly reduced energy consumption.
This effect applies to other issues too, like water use, poaching, dumping, and even picking up dog poop. So by letting people know about your environmentally friendly behaviors, you can fight false consensus too!
Do you dream of a longer-lasting, more energy efficient fridge? Never? It’s actually quite simple- clean your refrigerator coils twice a year. One night while you’re waiting for your takeout delivery, find the coils at the bottom front (behind a panel) or on the back. Unplug it to turn off the power. Brush lightly around the coils and then vacuum with a hose. Voila- you’re done and your fridge can breathe again! FYI: check your owner’s manual first, as some refrigerators have special instructions or need professional cleaning.
Today is National Energy Efficiency Day- join the crowd and change a light bulb to a more efficient one, turn down your thermostat and check for leaky windows and drafty doors. At the very least, turn off unnecessary lights. And while you’re at it, think about making every day an energy efficient day!
Even when they’re off, energy vampires like computers, DVRs, cable boxes, chargers and even coffee makers slowly drain electricity. Vampire loads use about 5% of the energy consumed in the US, costing electric customers more than $3 billion each year. Tonight turn off your lights and look for standby lights. They’re a sign that something is draining power, even though it isn’t being used. Unplug them when they’re not in use, or use power strip to make powering on and off easier.