These family-friendly wAYS TO SAVE ENERGY IN THE SUMMER will help you and your kids to create a more eco-friendly home.
Whether you want to:
- Reduce your family’s reliance on fossil fuels
- Learn how to go green at home
- Slash your family’s budget on wasted energy, or
- Teach your children the importance of energy conservation
it’s important to learn how to improve energy efficiency during the hottest days of the years.
How to save electricity in the summer
Here’s some simple energy conservation examples your family can work on together to cut back . All of the examples are easy to implement, can be done in homes of all sizes, are budget-friendly, and generally don’t require any special equipment (with the noted exception of replacing air filters).
And while you’re at it, be sure to check off items form your eco-bingo!
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Notice how turning on your oven heats up your kitchen? Those really hot summer days are a good time to clean out your fridge and make a smorgasbord dinner of random leftovers. (Plus it’s a great way to reduce food waste!)
Not enough food in your fridge? Nothing wrong with enjoying breakfast for dinner and connecting over bowls of cereal.
If you do need to cook something small, consider using a toaster oven, which uses 1/3-1/2 the energy of a regular oven (source). You can also take advantage of the cooler late-night temperatures and use a bread machine or a slow cooker overnight.
Turn off appliances & lights you aren’t using
Go on a scavenger hunt with your children, looking room-by-room to see what appliances are on and running and don’t need to be on. That includes lights, computers, televisions, and kitchen appliances. Unplug laptops and phones that are fully charged — and try to save charging time for the cooler parts of the day as much as possible. Make sure lights and fans are only on for the rooms you are currently in.
While you might need a break from being around your children, during the later, hotter parts minimize how many rooms you are in to reduce how many fans and lights you need on.
Run large appliances earlier in the day
Take advantage of the cooler time of day and run your larger appliances, such as your dishwasher and washing machine, in the mornings. Remember to run them when they are full.
If your dishwasher is full before you go to bed and you don’t want to wake up to dirty dishes, set to run a couple hours before you wake up. (Assuming, of course, it’s not super loud. Don’t want to wake up your family an earlier than necessary!)
Use fans only in the room you’re in
I grew up with fans on in every room, regardless if we were actually in the room. Imagine my surprise to learn that fans cool people and not rooms. If you leave the room, turn off the fans.
Turn UP the temperature
Instead of blasting your air conditioner so that everyone in your house is shivering under a blanket, keep the temperature set to 78 degrees F when you are home and 82 degrees when you are sleeping.
Block out the sun
Close blinds and shades to keep the sun from warming your home. The downside is that you you don’t have the advantage of natural sunlight in your home and might have to turn on a light. But…it will help keep your house naturally cooler.
(And this is where my high school physics fails me because I would LOVE to do a comparison of the amount of energy to light a room with a lightbulb versus the energy used to naturally light a room combined with the energy usage of a fan or air conditioning to cool the room. Hashtag nerd.)
Make sure that vents aren’t blocked
If you have central air, make that there is not furniture blocking air vents to allow for efficient air flow. If you realize a large piece of furniture such as a couch is blocking a vent, I’m sorry to say you might need to rearrange your furniture. Enlist the help of your children to come up with a new floor plan. (Just save the moving for a cooler day.)
And while we’re on the subject of air conditioning…
Replace or clean your air filters
Did you know that air conditioners have filters that need to be cleaned? (I only knew because my husband is super handy.) Doing so helps them to run more efficiently, and keeps the air in your home cleaner. How often you change it depends on where you live (i.e. you might have to do it more often if you live in a city with dirtier air) and whether or not you have pets.
Air dry your clothes
It seems kind of silly to use a dryer to get clothes dry when you have hot air to do it for you. (Granted, on a humid day, it might take a bit longer.) If you have outdoor space, you can hang up a clothes line or drying rack. As an added benefit, sun bleaching is a great way to get rid of stains from white textiles and cloth diapers.
If you have limited indoor space, you could use an over the door drying rack or simply hang your clothes over chairs, doors, or other surfaces. It might look a bit unsightly, but if you aren’t having company over anyway, no need to impress anyone.
If you want to get really fun and creative, drape your air-drying items over furniture to create an indoor fort for your children. (Just make sure that its furniture that won’t get damaged by damp fabric.) You’ve got the double-whammy of keeping your kiddos entertained while saving energy!
Take shorter & cooler showers
Generally I shower every third day, but in the hotter months where I both sweat more and want to wash the sunscreen off my body, I shower more frequently. The benefit of showering on a hot day is you probably don’t want to take a hot shower, which will reduce your energy consumption.
Consider showering with your younger children to reduce energy usage. (And shower instead of bathing to reduce to the amount of water you use.) If you’ve got older kids who can adequately shower by themselves, make it a (friendly) family competition to see who can take the shortest shower.
cool your feet
Ever notice how amazing it feels to stick your feet in a body of water on a steamy day? Create that experience in your own home by soaking your water in some cold water. You can use it to water your plants when you’re done, or make it a fun game for your little ones to wash your feet or make it a water play area. (Assuming your feet already are clean…)
One last thing to note. On especially hot days, as more energy is being used on the grid, it’s especially important to do these energy saving tips. According to Green Energy Consumers, dirtier energy sources need to be turned on to meet the demands of blasting air conditioners and fans on top of all the other energy being used when the temperatures soar.
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