Tips and Tricks: How to be Environmentally Friendly this Summer
Ahh, the good ol’ summertime. Whether you’re partaking in outdoor adventures or hunkered down in front of a fan, summer’s rising temperature beckons increases in inside/outside extension cord usage, opportunities for electricity and water sources to cross paths, and substantial boosts to electrical loads. But, with a little preparation, you can manage your energy use wisely and cut down on your bill while minimizing risks. Keep cool, and safe, this summer by following these simple tips:
Cooling your living areas
Consider using window fans.
If you buy an air conditioner, check energy efficiency ratios (EERs) of models on the market. The higher the EER rating, the more efficient the unit and the less it costs to run.
When using air conditioning, only cool the rooms you need. Close doors to other rooms.
Turn your air conditioner off when you leave home.
Make sure air-conditioner filters are clean and debris has been removed.
Convert to efficient LED lights, which are up to 90 percent more efficient and yield significantly less heat than conventional incandescent bulbs.
Close your draperies and shades on hot, sunny days to reduce solar heat buildup.
Close windows and doors during the hottest parts of the day.
Use your bath and kitchen exhaust fans sparingly. In just one hour they can remove a houseful of warmed or cooled air.
Set your air conditioning thermostat at 78° or higher during the cooling season. Each degree above 75° saves you 3% of the energy used to cool your home.
Carefully plan your use of the oven. When possible, opt for grilling your meals outside instead. Better yet, choose no-cook meals like salads.
Hang your laundry outdoors to dry. The fewer times you use your clothes dryer, the less energy you’ll use.
Staying safe around outdoor electricity
Leave cutting and trimming of trees near power lines to professionals. A tree or limb that comes in contact with a power line could be deadly.
When working or playing around your house’s exterior, remember that things such as aluminum siding, gutters and ladders conduct electricity. If any of these items touches an overhead power line, the results could also be deadly.
Have a licensed electrician add weatherproof covers and ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on electrical outlets, including ones near bathroom sinks and pool areas where water has the potential of coming in contact with electricity.
Always check to ensure that your outlet and switch covers are in good condition. If you are able to see exposed wiring, replace the switch or the cover.
Always remember to use safety caps on unused outlets. Small children and pets can be electrocuted from playing with these sources.
Never overload an extension or power cord. If the cord is warm or hot to the touch, there is a good chance that it is overloaded and could cause an electrical fire if not corrected.
Water and electricity never mix. Keep power tools and extension cords away from water, including rain, wet ground, swimming pools, sprinklers and garden hoses.
Inspect extension and power cords for wear and tear. Replace any cord you find that is frayed or cracked.
With a little planning, and awareness of your surroundings, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring that the only electrifying memories you have this summer are of the adventures you choose.
For additional information on electrical safety, please visit esfi.org.