Tips to Survive the Dog Days of Summer
Keep Cool without Air Conditioning
- Use fans. At night they help rid the house of the heat of the daytime sun.
- Use ceiling fans. They make people feel four degrees cooler than the actual temperature.
- Close shades and windows. During the day, that is. At night, open windows opposite one another for cross-ventilation.
Keep Cool with Air Conditioning
- Set the thermostat at 78 F or higher if you use a ceiling fan. You save 3 to 5% on your air conditioning cost for each degree you raise the thermostat.
- Clean or replace the filters. Check furnace and air filters monthly or as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Use the "AUTO FAN" setting.
- Getting an air conditioner? Buy Energy Star. It can save you up to 10% over one that doesn’t have the label. However, have an air conditioning technician or energy auditor determine the right size for the space.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Make sure it is programmed to turn down the heating or cooling automatically when you are not home and when you are sleeping.
- Avoid the stove or the oven. Use toaster ovens, crockpots, microwaves when you are cooking small to medium-sized meals. They use less energy than your stove or oven.
- Use the smallest pans possible It takes less energy to heat them.
- Use lids They help the food cook more quickly by keeping the steam in.
- Turn off electric burners and ovens just before cooking is complete. The food will continue to cook.
- Keep preheating time to a minimum
- Don't peek! You lose heat every time you open the door or lift the lid.
- Keep oven racks clear. Foil on oven shelves blocks heat and costs money.
An old refrigerator costs the average family about $140 a year (that's almost $12 per month). To cut those costs:
- Check refrigerator temperatures. You're losing money if they're lower than 37-40°F for fresh food and 0-5°F in your freezer. To check? Put one thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator, and another between packages in the freezer. Read them after 24 hours. To keep refrigerators cold, close doors quickly.
- Defrost manual-defrost refrigerators. Frost makes these models less efficient - and can contribute to food spoilage.
- Cover and wrap food. Uncovered foods and liquids release moisture and drive up electricity costs.
- Got a second older refrigerator? Unplug it! Remember: it can cost about $140 a year to keep it plugged in. And always remove the door when you unplug the refrigerator so that children cannot accidentally be caught inside.
- Buying a new refrigerator? Get an Energy Star model. Replacing a refrigerator bought in 1990 with a new Energy Star model would save enough energy to light the average household for over three months.
How Can Kids Help?
- Turn off the lights When you leave your room - and the bathroom.
- Turn off the radio, TV, computer, and games when you stop using them.
- Take shorter showers They use about half as much water as a full bathtub.
- Check for problems Mom and Dad haven't noticed. Like dripping faucets - it takes energy to heat the water.
- Share rides with friends to after-school activities.
- Close the fridge! Decide what you want from the refrigerator BEFORE opening the door - then close it quickly.
- Try a sweater if you're cold in the house? Don't turn up the thermostat.
Source: Cornell Cooperative Extension