Thursday, July 7, 2011

Energy Saving tips this summer

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With the increased use of our AC I have been searching for was to keep our energy use down and thus our cost. After being in our new home a year we are finally able to compare usage data. Also Rocky Mountain Power uses a tiered billing system through the summer months. You pay more based on increased usage....
Billing Months - May through September inclusive
7.5292¢ per kWh first 400 kWh
9.2749¢ per kWh next 600 kWh
11.5361¢ per kWh all additional kWh
Thankfully we have had a cooler and wetter spring so we haven't needed to run our AC much until the end of June. Now we are in the mists of summer heat. Last month we used just over 800kWh. As summer really heats up I am hoping to keep it as close to this as possible. I definitely don't want to go over the first 1000 kWh. To save on our electric bill here are some of the tips I have tried....
  • Unplug electronics not in use.... I have looked around the house and unplugged everything from lamps, to clocks, to radios to my toaster and mixer. Even when they are turned off they are leaking energy. It's not a big deal to plug them in when I go to use them.
  • Keeping the AC set at 78..... the comfortble tempature range for the human body is generally 70-78. I turned ours to the higher end.
  • Add increased air flow with fans.... we installed a ceiling fan. It is an energy effecient fan. By increasing the air flow the higher temp doesn't seem as high.
  • Turn off lights.... this might go without saying but with little ones I am forever going behind them to turn off lights. This is more of a problem at night when Mr. M cries, "Ma, Da, Dar...!!" We have to leave the closet light on but I try to sneak in after he has gone to sleep and turn it off.
  • Opening windows on cool nights....In Idaho, the temperature always drops to 50-60 on summer nights. It was just enough to cool the house again. In Utah, the nights are just as warm. I try to watch the news and when it's cooler outside open the windows and let the cool night air in.
  • Wash with cool water....I adjust my washer to wash with cool water. It also helps my clothes to last longer.
  • Give the dryer a break, line dry....My mom had the same dryer for 30+ years by doing this. She never used it in the summer. I however, am having a hard time giving up my soft fluffy towels. I also don't have a good spot to protect them from dirt, but I am working on this. Even a load or two will save the power bill.
  • Power down....I have made a habit of shutting the computer OFF at night, including the screen. We used to just let it go to sleep mode but now we power it down completely.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed....with west facing windows the afternoon sun just beats in. I have kept my blinds closed but on really hot days I also close my curtains. It makes a difference.
  • Be a tree hugger....we have planted several trees but are looking to plant a few more close to the house. I won't get the benefit from them for about 5 years but it is an investment worth making. If I plan just right I will get double benefit with my deck and house in shade during the hot hours of the day.
There are lots of other tips but these are the ones I am shooting for this summer. What are you doing to save this summer? What else can I try? Please let me know. I love to hear from you.
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