Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summertime, and the livin' is easy

Grass Clippings floating through the hot breeze.  Piles of flip-flops in the doorway.  Kids running through the sprinklers.  Hot dogs and hamburgers sizzle and pop on the grill.  Summertime.

Summer in Florida is fierce (and can be deadly), but there are so many ways to beat the heat AND the humidity, and not spend a fortune on your A/C bill.  

Did you know?  Air Conditioning in Florida can be 60-70% of your summer electric bill!

- If you have a programmable A/C thermostat, you can save by setting it CORRECTLY for the time of day:

6 a.m. to 9 a.m. = 75 degrees
9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. = 80 degrees
5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. = 75 degrees
11 p.m. to 6 a.m. = 80 degrees*

- If you have central air, set your thermostat above 78 degrees, and each degree above 78 will save you up to 8% on cooling costs.

- If you leave your home for more than an hour, set your thermostat to 80 degrees, or turn it off completely. (It cools off again in 15 minutes or less, and uses less energy than leaving it running while you were gone.)

- Use a fan.  Ceiling fans can make a room feel 6-9 degrees cooler, and uses less electricity than your A/C, but make sure the fan is turning counter-clockwise, so that it's blowing down and not up.  Turn the fan off when you leave the room.

- Add curtains, blinds or both to your windows.  The sweltering summer sunlight creates about 20% of the heat in your home*, and comes in through the windows.  Try fitting it into your normal morning routine, eat a healthy breakfast, grab a water, and close all the blinds and curtains before you leave.

- Greener shade.  Plant some shady shrubs and trees near your windows, especially the West facing windows, to keep the afternoon heat from making your home about 10 degrees warmer.  Awnings over your windows can also be installed to block the heat.

- Run your most heat-making appliances at night during cooler hours, like the dryer and dishwasher.  The oven can also produce unnecessary heat in the home, so use your microwave, or even better- take it outside!  Use your charcoal grill to make dinner with some yummy recipes from DG.

- Use Energy Saver Fluorescent bulbs to reduce heat and electricity - they use up to 75% less energy and 90% less heat*.

- If you have a spare bedroom that rarely is used, close the vents that feed that room until you're entertaining guests.

- Clean or Replace your A/C filter MONTHLY!  A dirty filter makes the A/C work harder.

*-sources: www.thisoldhouse.com, michaelbluejay.com