The start of the summer season means a lot of things. It’s the beginning of BBQs, late nights, sweet berries, hearty produce, beach vacations, flourishing gardens, eating on the patio, and more opportunities to spend time with family and friends. But, as we all know, the joys of summer suddenly come to a halt at the end of every month when the dreaded energy bill is stuffed in the mailbox. As demonstrated by this week’s weather, this year’s summer heat will have no mercy on us. Now, the question is how to stay cool while keeping the energy bill as low as possible. The key to beating the heat is to utilize your surroundings to create a cooler environment. In this blog post, we bring you 12 steps to keepin’ it cool on a budget.
1. Drink as much water as possible. Drinking water or chewing on ice is FREE and keeps you cool and hydrated! Grab a canteen or water bottle (I personally like the new glass canteens at the Co-op), fill it with ice and cold water, and you’re good to go. Bonus: if you find your water bottle empty on the go, most cafes/restaurants will fill up your water bottle for free, especially during heat waves.
2. Invest in a good fan or ceiling fans. Fans keep the air moving and are portable. Rather than turning on your air conditioning, place a fan in your bedroom, living room, kitchen, or anywhere you know you will be the most often. Then, watch as your energy bill drastically decreases. Remember to change your ceiling fans to a counter-clockwise motion to push air down, creating a wind effect.
3. If you plan on using your air conditioning this summer, clean your a/c filter every month it is in use. Dust builds up on the filter and can decrease the flow of air.
4. Use appliances at night or when it is cooler (dishwasher, iron, stove, etc.). Although this won’t decrease your energy bill directly, appliances generate heat, which could cause you to crank up the a/c. Remember, appliances generate heat even when they’re plugged in! So, unplug your appliances when they’re not in use or use a power strip. Better yet, try to avoid using some appliances this summer. For example, skip the dryer and air dry clothes outside. Bonus: they’ll smell fresher!
5. Save that coffee! Brew extra coffee in the morning or at night and save it to make iced coffee.
6. Keep the shades closed over windows facing the sun in the morning and early afternoon when the sun feels the hottest.
7. Ventilate your house. Opening doors or windows on the opposite ends of the house creates a natural breeze. Opening windows upstairs also helps to pull cool air in and push hot air out.
8. Update your windows and doors with weathering strips placed on the inside panels. This keeps cool air in and hot air out.
9. Change out incandescent bulbs and upgrade to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescents (CFLs). These bulbs don’t generate heat like incandescent bulbs.
10. Plan your meals. Try to avoid using the stove or oven during the day- use both at night and cook extra for leftovers. Or, use the grill to keep heat outside of the home. Practice the art of marinating veggies for making quick, no-cook salads.
11. Mooch off of someone else’s air conditioning. Go to the movies, the library, the mall, even the Co-op! We have great grab-and-go lunches that can be eaten and enjoyed at our inside tables.
12. Whip out the baby pool. Fill it up with hose water, make a fancy drink, and enjoy. This is a great way to still be outside while staying cool (remember to apply sunscreen!)
Stay safe everyone!!