8 money-saving tricks to cool your home
- Next1 of 9Datacraft Co Ltd/Getty Images; Shelly Strazis
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- Previous Next6 of 9Courtesy of Danny Seo
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Keep It Cool1 of 9
By Amy Ahlberg
Utility bills got you hot and bothered this summer? With these easy-to-implement tips from environmental lifestyle expert Danny Seo you'll be able to keep your whole house cool and your bills down.
Mind the Gap2 of 9
First, make sure your fireplace flue is closed, says Seo. "Granted, the idea of lighting a roaring fire during the hot summer months makes no sense, but you'd be surprised how many people still have their fireplace flue wide open all summer long," he says. Keeping it open is the equivalent to having a window open, which makes your air conditioning work harder to keep your room cooler.
Bright Idea3 of 9
Unexpectedly, choosing the right light bulbs can help keep your rooms cooler. "Traditional incandescent light bulbs not only use a lot of energy, but they also heat up in order to create light," says Seo. "That heat is added to your rooms while your lamps are illuminated." Switch to long-lasting LED bulbs, which "remain cooler when they are turned on."
Fresh Air4 of 9
Check your air filter regularly, says Seo. Adding, "Whether you use a central air system or have window air conditioning units, the air filters keep particles like dust and pollen from circulating in the air. That also means they get dirty which make your systems work harder, and in turn, use more energy." According to Energy Star, you should change or clean your filter every three months. If you haven't done so already, do it now.
Made in the Shade5 of 9
Plant a bush or tree by your air conditioner, advises Seo. "Air is cooler in the shade than unshaded air. If your air conditioner is pulling in cooler, shaded air it will use less energy to turn that air, cold, inside your home," he says. You can also just place a potted bush or tree near your air conditioner to help create shade if there isn't room to plant one.
A Quick Fix6 of 9
Seo recommends switching from traditional towels to quick-drying ones. "A day at the beach or the pool or even just running through the sprinklers in the backyard means lots of extra towels, and towels are one of the biggest energy hogs when tumble-dried, not to mention the heat the dryer creates," he says. Quick-drying versions feature a special loop weave design that dries up to 1/3 faster when machine-dried, compared to conventional towels (they also air-dry faster). Faster drying towels also means smelly mildew won't build up, says Seo.
Thirst Quenching7 of 9
If you need to water your lawn and outdoor plants, do it first thing in the morning or late at night, says Seo. "During the day, water evaporates faster and doesn't have a chance to reach the plants' roots. Plus, water left on leaves in the bright sunlight causes burn marks and spots," he says. When the sun is down, it will take less water to give your plants a good drink, ultimately saving you money on your water bill.
What's Cooking?8 of 9
Whenever possible, use your toaster oven. "Your stove's oven takes a lot of time to pre-heat and emits warm air into the kitchen, creating a hotter atmosphere," says Seo. Smaller appliances like toaster ovens often feature convection technology, which uses less energy and gives off less heat," he explains.
Frozen Assets9 of 9
Go ahead, pack your freezer with frozen treats, and keep your fridge full says Seo. "A freezer full of frozen food—think popsicles and bags of ice—uses less energy to keep things frozen than an empty one, since the existing frozen food helps keep the temperature low," says Seo. The refrigerator ranks as one of the highest in energy consumption—this a simple way to make your fridge run as energy efficient as possible.
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