Heat Waves Bake Much of US - Tips to Keep Cool and Save Energy

Blazing heat and stifling humidity have dominated the forecast across the country this summer. Staying cool is important, but cranking up the air conditioning taxes the energy grid and eventually, we all see higher energy costs. There are many ways to beat the heat by becoming more energy efficient, which not only saves money, but consumes less energy, meaning less harmful emissions are put back in the environment. Here are a few helpful tips:

Set the thermostat at a specific range, around 70° - 75°F, raising it up to 80°F when no one is home. By doing this, less energy is used to cool down upon arriving home.

Create artificial breezes via ceiling or portable fans to assist in the battle against the heat. In addition to an A/C unit, fans effectively circulate air, creating a draft and allowing the raising of an A/C unit’s desired temperature by roughly four degrees.

Changing out incandescent light bulbs for more efficient ones can not only result in a 75 percent financial savings, but can also reduce heat output by 90 percent. Closing and shading windows during the day, ensuring there is proper sealing on windows and doors to reduce loss, and running appliances at night can also add to energy reduction.

Most importantly, don’t forget to unplug your chargers around the house if you’re not charging a smartphone, tablet or other electronic device. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average U.S. household spends about $1,900 a year on energy costs. And the DOE says that anywhere from 5 percent to 10 percent of your residential electricity is sapped by devices that are plugged in 24 hours a day.

Remember, hot weather increases the risk of damage to electronics like smartphone and tablets, so make sure to keep your devices out of direct sunlight and out of the glove compartment in your car.