Not sure if you’ve heard, but it’s summer here in Vancouver. By “summer”, I mean ‘it’s-been-mostly-terrible-weather-but-after-two-months-of-rain-and-cloud-we’re-finally-seeing-the-sun’. We’re not bitter…I swear. Ok, that’s a lie. We’re totally bitter about it. But, it’s out of our control, West-Coasters, so get out and enjoy the sun while it deigns to show its face! The bitterness comes from watching summer happen all over the rest of our continent. They have been experiencing some very warm (ok, very hot) weather. However, while we West-Coasters may have want for a little more heat, we also know that a lot more heat can indeed be dangerous. Safety first, people.
Extreme levels of heat swept over two thirds of the US and a large chunk of Canada this summer. People need to cool off and, just like in the winter, we tend to use electricity to bring temperatures in our homes and offices within comfortable levels. Extreme temperature can elicit some pretty high energy bills as air conditioners and fans run constantly to try to bring temperatures down. So, what can be done in the home to keep the costs of energy down while still keeping us nice and cool? We’ll be addressing this over the next couple blog posts.
The California Energy Commission has some tips to answer that question. While they may not all be applicable to all people, we should all be able to adopt at least some of these ideas. Let’s start with everyone’s preferred choice – the free ones. They suggest washing your laundry in warm or cold water settings, as opposed to hot, and always using cold water to rinse your clothes. This can save you 4% on your energy bill. A further 5% can be saved if you line dry your clothes. Bam! That’s 9% right there in laundry energy alone! We can round the savings up to 10% if we apply the air drying technique to your dishwasher too, as long as you make sure that it’s always full when you run it.
If you’re lucky enough to have a pool to fall into, you can save 1-2% per hour if you reduce the operating time of your pool’s filter and its automatic cleaning sweeper from always on to 4-5 hours on. On that note, can I come over for a swim?
Next, we move on to the logical, but not always practiced way to save electricity: turn stuff off if you’re not using it! Turning off appliances, lights and equipment can save you up to 2% in energy costs. And here’s a fun fact: did you know that most chargers still pull energy out of the wall if they’re plugged in, but not charging anything? Unplugging electronic devices and charges when they’re not in use can save up to 2% as well. A handy way to make this easier (and thereby more likely to happen) is to plug these devices into power strip and just switch the power strip on and off when you need to use your electronics. Easy as pie.
Last on the California Energy Commission’s free-to-implement list could be sitting in your garage. And it’s a good one. If you have a spare refrigerator in the garage and you don’t really need it (do you need it?), you can unplug and recycle that bad boy and save yourself approximately $150 per year! 10-20%!