When looking at your energy usage, it’s not always right to focus on the little things. Leaving a light on too long won’t break the bank – or send the world into a new ice age because of your impact on the environment. Instead, it pays to look at the things that really take a lot of energy.
(Photo via Flickr Creative Commons by Scott Ogle)
It takes a lot of energy to keep your house cool in the middle of summer, and warm in the middle of winter. If you can save energy when it comes to heating and cooling, you can save a lot of money, lessen your impact on the environment, and generally feel like a more well-rounded individual. The only problem? You need to learn how to do it. That’s where we come in. Here are ten ways to get started.
1. Be Cold in Winter and Warm in Summer
That’s right: don’t make your heating and cooling systems work so hard. Conserve first by conserving on your thermostat dial. Sure, you may need a blanket in the winter and you may need a cool drink in the summer, but it’s not the end of the world.
2. Keep Your Doors Closed
Separating these environments from each other makes it easier for your heating and cooling systems to do their work by lessening the impact area and therefore the overall energy demand.
3. Install Shutters on Your Windows
Your windows are where heat and cold leak out while the doors are closed. Shutters essentially add to your insulation capacity. Curtains are also help keep the hot summer sun rays from penetrating your cool home. Even sheer curtains can keep out the burning rays, but allow natural light to sift into the room.
4. Know How Air Currents Work
Many people who live on upper floors – apartments, for example, don’t even have to heat their homes in the winter because of warmer air rising. Use this principle in your own way.
5. Close the Shutters/Blinds During Summer
Sunlight, after all, will help warm up your house – and in the summer, that’s not what you want to happen.
6. Is a Portable Air Conditioner the Answer?
If you just need to keep one room cool, then a portable air conditioner uses less energy and costs less, too.
7. Let the Winter Sun Shine!
The sun’s warming effect isn’t welcome during the summer, but you may want to open up your shutters to the sun during winter. Not only does sunshine make you cheerful during the dreary days of winter, they can help warm your home.
8. Turn Off Your Bathroom Fans When They’re Not Being Used
Because of the need for ventilation, these fans can work to transfer heat or cool air when you don’t want it transferred. The same goes for kitchen fans.
9. Install a Dehumidifier
A dry, cool basement in the summer can be a great way to beat the heat without requiring extensive air conditioning.
10. Set Your Ceiling Fans to Turn the Right Way
Think I’m crazy? Nope! Your fans should push cool air down in the summer and circulate warm air up in the winter. There is, after all, a reason that your ceiling fan has a setting to turn the other way.