Saturday, August 06, 2005

You all are just so predictable

How did I know I would get my ass handed to me if I mentioned that I might move out thus crushing any dreams I had of paying off my debt in a timely manner. Thank you, thank you. You will have your way. I have had the "moving out bug" thoroughly chased out of me (much to my boyfriend's chagrin). I guess I will have to "suck it up" and be patient until I can exorcise my financial demons.

Tips to Help You Save Energy - Part II

I don't know where you live but it is dang hot outside where I live. Here are some tips to help you stay cool and conserve energy (and money) at the same time.

* Schedule regular air-conditioning checkups. Just like your car, your air conditioner needs a regular tune-up. With proper care, your air conditioner will last longer, operate more efficiently, and save you more money.

* Get off to the right start. Read the owner's manual and follow the manufacturer's instructions before turning your system on for the first time. The following spring, have a trained service person do an annual checkup.

* Keep it clean. Keep your air conditioner clean, inside and out. Check, clean, and replace the filter regularly (do not operate the unit without filters). Clear away accumulated dirt and debris from the outside condenser units annually. (Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific model.)

* Install your air conditioner in a shady location. Air conditioners exposed to direct sunlight use up to 5% more energy.

* Precoolers can reduce your cooling costs if you have a central air conditioning system and live in a hot, dry climate. A precooler is a water-cooled device that attaches directly to the front of the air conditioner's condenser unit. The precooler draws hot, outside air over water-saturated pads. Water evaporation from these wet pads lowers the temperature of the air before it enters the air conditioner. This precooling enables the air conditioner to work more efficiently and use less energy.

* If you live in a hot, dry area, an evaporative (or "swamp") cooler can be an inexpensive way to cool your home, either replacing or assisting regular air conditioning. Evaporative cooling is much simpler than air conditioning and uses much less energy. An evaporative cooler uses a simple fan mechanism to draw hot, dry outside air through wet filters. The resulting evaporation cools the air that the fan then directs inside.

* If you live in an area with a moderate climate, you may be able to use a whole house fan for most of your cooling needs and reserve your air conditioner for the hottest hours of the day. Because whole house fans depend on cool outside air, coastal areas (and other locations that are cool in the evening) are ideal. If your neighborhood remains hot in the evening, a whole house fan isn't right for you.

Whole house fans are usually installed in an attic, flush with the ceiling of the house. When outside temperatures are cooler than inside temperatures (usually at night), the air conditioner is turned off, and the windows are opened, the whole house fan pulls cool, fresh air into the house through the open windows and pushes the hot inside air out through attic vents.

* During the summer, heat trapped in your attic can increase the temperature throughout your home. Though not as effective as a whole house fan, an attic ventilation fan pushes hot attic air outside, reduces the attic temperature, and cools the rooms below.

* Simple and functional, ceiling fans are one of the most decorative ways to control the temperature in your home and are effective during the summer and winter. In hot weather, a ceiling fan on high speed can lower a room's temperature by as much as 10 to 12 degrees. This reduces your air conditioning needs substantially. During the winter, a ceiling fan set to a slower speed moves rising warm air around the room.

* Know your numbers. If you have central air conditioning, set your thermostat to 78°F or more during the summer, 85°F or more when you leave your home for more than four hours. Unless you have furniture, art or equipment that could be damaged by excessive heat, turn your cooling unit off when you leave your home for more than 24 hours.

* Don't overcool. Don't turn your thermostat lower than normal to cool your home faster. It won't work.

* Keep heat-producing appliances away from your thermostat. Heat emitted by television sets, lamps, and other appliances will make your cooling system work harder.

* Use zone cooling. To avoid wasting energy -- and money -- cooling a room you're not using, close doors and/or vents to that room. (To avoid damage to your central cooling system, close off no more than one-fourth of the area of your home.)

* Use your shades. Closing drapes and shades -- especially on southern windows -- will help keep the sun out and your home cool. Cover eastern windows in the morning and western windows in the afternoon.

* Beware of humidity. When outdoor temperatures rise, avoid activities that generate humidity, such as cooking, bathing, laundering, and dishwashing. Wait until the early morning or evening. Your kitchen's exhaust fan will help get rid of heat and moisture, in addition to cooking odors.

* Use air conditioning wisely. You can still control your cooling costs on days when you have to use your air conditioner. Keep all your doors and windows shut and avoid using a humidifier or evaporative ("swamp") cooler at the same time you run the air conditioner. The leaks, drafts, and moisture added by humidifiers and evaporative coolers force the air conditioner to work harder and use more energy.

* Consider your landscaping. In the summer, leafy trees provide cool shade. In the winter, bare branches allow the sun to warm your home. Small shrubs can block heat reflected from patios and pavement. And planting vines over southern windows can reduce the effect of the sun's heat.

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Anonymous said...

Good for you for staying put.
(Oh, so it's your boyfriend who wanted more "privacy" - we know what that means...)

Bailey said...

Very interesting idea for a blog. I like!

I was in debt about $10,000 after college, and just got it paid off about a year ago. It is SUCH a great feeling, so keep at it.

I'll continue to read, and hopefully be able to drop off some helpful hints along the way. said...

nice tips :)