Cool off, save energy with these 5 tips
Hot summer weather is here and many Oregonians may feel their homes and energy bills heating up. Energy Trust of Oregon offers simple tips to help keep energy costs down and improve comfort this summer.
"Just because the temperature is rising, it doesn't mean your energy bill has to," said Katie Wallace, residential spokesperson for Energy Trust. "There are many things homeowners can do to stay cool and save energy when the weather warms up, and mnay of them are no- and low-cost."
Energy Trust offers these tips:
1 — Power down to cool off. Home appliances, electronics and incandescent light bulbs create heat when they're on. The less you use them on a hot day, the cooler you can be. Upgrade to LED lights, which operate more efficiently and don't give off excess heat. Skip the oven and use the microwave, cook on the stovetop or grill outside.
2 — Use windows strategically. Close windows, blinds, shades and curtains to keep heat outside. Light-colored window coverings also help reflect heat away. When temperatures drop at night or early in the morning, open your windows and doors to draw in cooler air. Shield windows from the sun during the day with blinds, awnings or shutters, and if you can, plant trees or tall shrubs to filter sunlight before it enters your home.
3 — Join the fan club. A fan in the window can keep air moving and help you feel cooler by pulling cool air in and drawing warm air out. Try using a box or window-mounted fan on the shady side of your home to draw in cool air. A second fan on the opposite side of the room or house can blow hot air out. If you use air conditioning, a fan can allow you to raise the thermostat setting and still stay comfortable. If you buy a new ceiling fan, choose an ENERGY STAR qualified model (available as a light/fan combination).
4 — Keep hot air out and cool air in. Sealing air leaks and insulating your home can reduce cooling and heating costs while making your home more comfortable all year long. After you've sealed air leaks, consider adding insulation. Energy Trust provides incentives for insulation and can connect homeowners with trade ally professionals to do the job right.
5 — Make the most of air conditioning. When no one is home, set the air conditioner or heat pump thermostat a few degrees higher than normal. When you are home, set the thermostat to 72-75 degrees to help you feel cooler without using too much energy. Install a smart thermostat so it can adjust the temperature of your home automatically to help you save $35 to $45 on your energy bill each year. You can also save $50 on the purchase price with an instant coupon from Energy Trust. Check the system air filter regularly and change it when it looks dirty. A dirty filter makes the system work less efficiently and reduces air flow.
In addition to these simple suggestions there are many other ways to reduce energy use and save money year-round. Visit Energy Trust's website for more no-cost and low-cost energy saving tips, plus more informaiton on available cash incentives.
Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and generating renewable power. Its services, cash incentives and energy solutions have helped participating customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas and Avista save $3.4 billion on energy bills. Learn more online at energytrust.org or call 1-866-368-7878.
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