As warmer weather sets in, our thoughts on keeping the house comfortable switch from heating to cooling. Making small adjustments in when, where, and how you use electricity helps control your energy costs while keeping temperatures in your home more pleasant on sultry days.
Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system or heat pump can play a huge part in controlling your energy use year-round. Most people aren’t sensitive enough to notice much of a difference in air temperature whether the thermostat is set at 73 or raised to 78. But the closer the setting is to the outdoor temperature, the less your unit will run.
- Fans offer an economical alternative by circulating air through areas where you are most active. When used in conjunction with your cooling system, set ceiling fans to blow air downward instead of pulling warmer air upward to get the most value.
- Central air conditioning can use as much as one kWh of electricity for each 12-minute cycle of cooling. A ceiling fan can operate for about 13 hours on the same amount of electricity, while a floor or table fan, depending on size, might run for 10 hours per kWh of power. Turn off fans when you leave a room, because they cool people, not space.
When it comes to heat and humidity, your stove represents the modern hearth, and all the things that make the kitchen a favorite gathering place in winter can help send your electric meter into overdrive from late spring through early fall.
- Consider using your microwave oven. They use about 60 percent as much energy as full-size ovens, and a toaster oven consumes about half as much power. Designed to heat food more efficiently in less space, the surface areas available for heating are smaller, reducing waste heat surfaces and keeping kitchens cooler.
Share the space
Today, it’s common for families to retreat to separate spaces, turn on their electronics, and close their doors, which makes getting control of your home’s overall demand challenging. Consider the following:
- LCD televisions generally use 60 percent as much electricity as comparably-sized plasma models.
- One laptop computer uses about 20 percent as much power as a desktop computer and monitor.
- Home assistant devices can play music using about 17 percent of the energy on a component stereo system.
- A video game console consumes about 200 watts of power. One system, in one room uses about a third of the power of three players engaged in online games around the house.
- Finish the space with energy-efficient LED fixtures for lighting.
As temperatures rise and air conditioners are switched on, looking for ways to improve energy efficiency at home can help you and Union Power reduce demand, saving energy and money.