I’m sifting through the memories and the large amount of emotional paperwork, artwork, writings and the diploma she took home. That and the fact that our central air is still broken and I’m nearly broken without it, I just want to curl up in a dark room and be alone for 17 days. Or 17 minutes. It was her kindergarten teacher’s last year before retirement and Scarlet was the princess in her little last day of school play. Now I think about summer. What was it like for our parents when we were kids? I remember it being endless and limitless – a soaring and long aerial view – looking down on Ocean City, Maryland and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Now you can add Cape Cod, islands of wild ponies, and moose to our summertime dreams.
With the ice dams of winter on our rooftop memories, and the humid heat of summer approaching, it amazes me how much we depend on electricity here in New England. After that long winter, I thought I’d never want to be cold or near snow again.
Now it’s summer, we’re about ready to crank up the central air, and I have visions of snowflakes dancing in my head. Funny how that works. Sadly, I’m a central air person. People either are or they aren’t. My dad raised us with crisp central air, and I still remember how cranked the a/c would be in our rented condos in Myrtle Beach – 65 or so! I’d have to bundle up! Now I can’t live without it. When we were house-hunting, the realtor asked us what our deal breakers were in looking for a house. I said my near-perfect house had to have at least two bathrooms, and had to have central air-conditioning. She told me I might need to broaden my search up here in New England, where central air doesn’t grow on trees like it did in previous places I have lived, but we found a house that does have it. In the winter, we run a pellet stove for three months. In the summer, we run central air a lot. What’s a family to do to save money on electric bills with this kind of lifestyle? There are ways!
1. Do a nightly energy sweep. Cassidy is notorious for leaving on every fan, light and appliance. He also leaves cupboards and toilet seats open, but that’s another story. Turn off all household appliances like TV’s and computers when not being used.
2. Wash clothes in cold water and hang laundry out to dry in the warmer months.
3. During the warmer months, set your thermostat to 76-78 degrees when you’re home, and turn it off when you’re not. This will use 1-3% less energy per degree when the thermostat is set above 72. Ceiling or room fans are a way to circulate air.
4. During the colder months, turn down your heat at night or when you’re gone. You can save as much as 20% a year on heating bills just by adjusting a programmable thermostat by 4 to 8 degrees. It can be set up to suit your lifestyle.
5. Upgrade your appliances to newer and more energy-efficient models. Many state and local governments, and many utility companies will offer financial incentives for homeowners to make these upgrades. This can be in the form of rebate checks.
6. Lights overhaul! Find the most effective places in your home for lights and light switches. You can paint your rooms in bright colors, because they reflect more light and use less of it. Replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs and use high quality L.E.D. or C.F.L. bulbs. Install and use dimmer switches at less than full brightness.
7. Seal cracks and leaks in walls and around windows. Seal doors as well! You can get a tube of caulk for a few dollars.
8. Use energy-saving blinds.
9. Buy energy-efficient devices and not ones that are larger than necessary. Check for Energy Star or energy class labels.
10. Consider solar power! Sunrun customers save on their electricity bills, because electricity from Sunrun is more affordable than electricity from your utility. Sunrun installs, insures, monitors and maintains a solar system that is specifically designed for your home – you just pay a low, locked-in rate for the electricity that the solar panels produce. This gives you control over electricity costs, and protects you against the unpredictable rate increases. It’s good for your wallet, and good for the planet – even the Scott brothers and Kylie Jenner have solar! The smartest way to power a home in these modern times is with clean, affordable electricity from the sun. Now, are you ready to go solar to save money on electricity, and help save the planet?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.