Our very best tips to stay cool in summer involve one of our sparkling pools and a snowball from your favorite local stand, but sometimes it’s tempting to simply run the A/C at full capacity, open the freezer, and stand in front of it to cool down.
While we certainly don’t blame you (the Gulf South gets hot!), we do think it’s important to conserve energy. Using the following energy-saving tips for apartment dwellers is important not only for your monthly utility bill, but also the environment in general.
Your A/C unit will actually have to work harder to cool down your apartment if you only turn it on when you’re at home. Instead, keep the A/C running while you’re gone at a higher temperature… read more below!
Did you know that for every degree below 79 degrees you set your thermostat, your bill will increase by as much as 3 percent? When you’re not at home, keep your thermostat at 79 for optimal energy use.
Keeping air filters clean is one of the easiest ways to not only save energy but also improve air quality at home. For best results, replace fiberglass filters monthly. The air filter keeps debris and pollutants out of your home’s air system, which improves overall HVAC performance and can even help mitigate allergy symptoms.
You probably spend long periods of time in a certain part of your apartment, whether it’s at your desk on the computer or on the sofa watching television. For these stretches, it’s great to have a small, portable fan you can take with you to keep you cool. Rather than waste energy (and money) cooling down the entire apartment, point a fan your way to stay cool and comfortable economically.
Like a portable fan, ceiling fans are a great way to stay cool. However, you’ll want to check to make sure that your bedroom fans are rotating counter-clockwise for maximum cool-down potential.
Most modern CFL lightbulbs no longer have that annoying buzz or hum, and they use about 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs, so there’s no excuse not to use them! Make sure that the CFLs you use are compatible with your lighting controls though, as most motion sensors and electric timers are not designed to work with CFL bulbs. Be sure to also only use bulbs labeled as dimmable on dimmer switches.
Use your lights in a smarter way. For more light, it’s better to use one large bulb rather than several smaller ones. For example, according to Entergy, one 100-watt bulb uses the same amount of energy as four 25-watt bulbs, yet it produces 50 percent more light.
In addition to our collection of cleaning tips, this one is simple: dust and clean bulbs and lampshades every so often – you’ll be surprised at the difference! You can get up to one-third more light from the same amount of money simply by keeping bulbs and shades clean.
If you like to sleep in, blackout curtains are a must. But they’re also great for keeping out the heat during the summer months. Pick up a cheap pair at Target, or line your existing curtains with blackout fabric available at retailers like JoAnn’s.
Ideally, your refrigerator temperature should be between 37 and 42 degrees; the freezer should hover between zero and five degrees. Leaving town for a summer vacation? Use up the foods that will spoil, then turn your refrigerator up two or three settings (but keep the freezer’s temperature steady at all times).
Don’t overcrowd your fridge, as it can interfere with air flow and efficiency. The opposite is true for your freezer, however; freezers are typically most efficient when fully stocked.
Use the oven rather than the stovetop whenever you can, especially during the heat of summer. Insulated ovens retain heat much better and use less energy than stovetop counterparts, but be sure to use a timer, as opening the oven door lets up to 20% of the heat escape.
If you need a little culinary inspiration, BuzzFeed has you covered with one-tray oven dishes.
Entergy offers a service called Level Billing to help you take control of your monthly utility bill. You can sign up for Level Billing on their website so your bill will be about the same price month after month.