Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How My Dad Saves Energy

An energy saving blog post today, since it's the time of year where I find myself fighting to spread awareness of a super-easy way to save on energy bills and simultaneously make your house/apartment more bearable temperature-wise.

This doesn't always work (for instance, when it stays unbearably hot throughout the night), but just by following these easy steps you'll regularly find that you do not have to turn on air conditioning until late in the day. Obviously, better insulation is a factor and can influence your particular case.
I personally hate the heat, and I probably run my air conditioners more than I should, but there's something my dad's been doing my entire life that works much more than people think it would, and there's some common pitfalls to avoid also (which may be why it hasn't worked for you in the past).

I'm speaking, of course, of opening your windows.

You know, those things that let in the air from outside. You may be crying foul now, but wait until I've laid out the entire plan.

When it is colder outside than inside, open your windows (and preferably provide some sort of air circulation, a box fan pointing out of one window works pretty effectively) and leave them open for as much coolness as you can stand.

By doing this, you can usually get your house down to the 60s (and you should probably stop if it gets any colder than that, you don't want to freeze!), and it will usually be later in the night when it is cooler too, meaning that you will have a nice cool sleeping environment.

Now, and here is the most common pitfall, you have to shut your windows again before it gets hotter outside than inside. I don't care if it's "nice" outside or if you want to get some fresh air or whatever (go outside if you want fresh air!), but as soon as the temperature outside increases above what you have the inside temperature at (which is usually relatively early in the morning in the summer), shut all of the windows. Don't Wait!

No seriously, don't wait!

If you wait, then inside your house will be the same stifling temperature it is outside, and you're much more likely to turn on the air conditioning earlier. However, if you shut your windows the second the outside temperature increases above the inside temperature (so if you're following these directions and we're assuming normal conditions, 60s-ish), then your house's insulation will help trap the cold in and keep the heat out. Resulting in comfortable conditions for several hours longer.

If you're the type with a job you have to wake up and go to every morning, then make shutting your windows part of your morning routine. If you work nights, shut the windows before you go to bed.

For some reason there's some sort of switch in our brains that makes us think the windows should be open in the summer, but if it's hotter outside, then the windows need to be shut. It's really as simple as that.

Also, if the sun is beaming in through the windows, consider shutting the curtains to help block the sun's heat.

If you can keep the air conditioners off for just a couple of hours more each day, you're talking about hundreds of dollars saved by the end of the year. Every little bit helps!

Happy Belated Earth Day!

Do you have energy saving tips you'd like to share?