We’re in the thick of it. Summer’s heat is near its peak, school’s out, vacations are underway, and the Fourth of July is here again. As you plan celebrations, travel, or go about enjoying the rest of the season, take a cue from the holiday and declare independence from needlessly high electric bills.
Here are a few simple, low-tech ways to help you save in midsummer energy costs.
Run the washer and dishwasher only when each appliance is full, and beat the peak by not using them between 3 and 8 p.m.
Use a clothesline or dryer rack to air-dry laundry. Your clothes will stay in better shape longer, and you’ll cut out one energy drain entirely.
Set your thermostat to 78 when you’re home, and turn on ceiling fans in occupied rooms to add to the cooling effect. Run the blades counterclockwise to create a cooling downdraft, and turn off the fan when you leave the room.
Use countertop appliances to make dinner without turning on the oven. Better yet, make a salad with a combination of fresh and pantry ingredients. Start with greens and add cucumber, avocado, canned black beans or chickpeas, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, or whatever you have on hand for a satisfying meal that doesn’t require cooking.
Take a break from devices and screens, and get outside after dinner—after the heat relents just a little—and use that much less electricity by taking a walk, watering some plants, saying hello to a neighbor, or just enjoy the sunset and nature with a cool drink.
While you’re outside, consider some areas around your home that might benefit from energy-wise landscaping. Providing shade for an outdoor air conditioning unit can increase its efficiency, and planting deciduous trees on the east, south, and west sides of your home will create shade in the summer, while still allowing the sunshine in the winter. You might also see some opportunities to plant trees to shade windows now; as they mature, they’ll shade your home’s walls and roof.
Once you’re back inside, unwind with a cool treat from the freezer and a tech-free activity like a board game or book. The long, light, and lazy days of this time of year are fleeting, so make the most of them. Magic Valley Electric Cooperative wishes you and your family a restorative summer.