On the warmest summer days, that moment when you walk into your centrally air conditioned apartment can feel like the best thing ever. For energy conscious apartment residents, however, this glorious experience can be tinged with feelings of guilt. To offset that guilt, there are a few simple changes you can make to save energy without sacrificing your comfort.
One easy way to save energy this summer is to adopt smart refrigeration practices. If you’re retrieving a single bottle or jar from the refrigerator door and you know exactly where it is, open the door just a crack to keep as little cool air as possible from escaping. To keep your refrigerator from working over time, don’t put hot food in until after it has cooled down. If your refrigerator door doesn’t always close fully when you let it swing shut after using it, make a point of ensuring it does close after every use. Also, ensure the temperature is appropriately set for maximum energy savings.
Don’t Generate Unnecessary Heat
In the winter, the heat energy created by your stove helps keep your apartment warm, taking a load off your heating system. On hot summer days, the opposite occurs. Whenever possible, use outdoor grills or your microwave instead of your oven. Heat-intensive indoor cooking creates more work for your air conditioner.
Certain electronics, such as curling irons and hair dryers, also generate considerable heat. Make an extra effort to ensure these devices are plugged in no longer than necessary. You can further avoid generating unnecessary heat by running your dishwasher and washing machine in the early morning or late evening, when the temperature is coolest.
Choose LED Over Incandescence
A simple way to save energy is to purchase LED or compact fluorescent bulbs anytime one of your existing bulbs burn out. Don’t feel pressure to change out all your incandescent bulbs now. Just make the switch as your bulbs burn out, one by one.
Use Those Windows
Another great way to save energy is to use windows in your apartment to complement your cooling system. The most energy-efficient climate control systems integrate air conditioning, ceiling and wall fans, and smart use of windows and window treatments. Open your windows on milder days and cool nights for natural ventilation. Inversely, draw your curtains closed on warm, sunny days to keep the heat and sun from warming up your apartment.
Lower Water Heater Temperature
The last thing you need on a hot summer day is a scalding hot shower. Since the water flowing through your pipes is warmer in the summer than in the winter, your water heater doesn’t have to work as hard to deliver hot water. The Department of Energy recommends dialing your water heater down to 120 degrees for the summer to save energy and prevent water burns in your apartment. Give this a shot. If you don’t like it, you can raise your water heater’s temperature back up to a warmer setting.
Program Your Thermostat
If there is a programmable thermostat in your apartment, use it! Program the thermostat to optimize your comfort and maximize energy savings when you’re at work or away on vacation. This Energy Star guide contains a helpful table that makes choosing initial settings a breeze. Try it out, and make changes to your settings based on how comfortable you feel.
Most people prefer summer to winter, but there’s no denying the sun and heat we love can lead some of us to be unnecessarily wasteful in our apartments. Adopt these easy, eco-friendly strategies, and you can save energy while still being perfectly comfortable at all times in your apartment.
What are your best seasonal energy saving tips?
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