If you’re like most of the population, you’re wondering how to maximize comfort and minimize cost in the sweltering sun of the Nashville summer. Though middle Tennessee’s summer may start mercifully late after a mild spring, there is little respite from the soaring temperatures once summer is thoroughly underway. The old-fashioned methods of self-cooling like walking around naked and wrapping a frozen towel around your head are only appropriate in certain contexts; unfortunately, most of us aren’t in the position to avail ourselves of those cheap and easy means of heat relief. Relying on central AC doesn’t condemn you automatically to an expensive slew of energy bills, though. There is a plethora of convenient ways in which you can minimize your expenditures without sprouting embarrassing sweat stains as soon as you wake up.
One good place to start is the kitchen; though it may not be your intuitive first guess, the kitchen is the site of many small decisions that can have a big impact on your energy bill’s bottom line. For example, choosing to cook your meals in the microwave rather than on the stove top requires only 1/3 as much energy, thus saving you a pretty penny without much difference in result. Another counter intuitive means of energy saving is using your dishwasher rather than putting in the sweat equity of washing the dishes yourself. You actually save water with a one-time wash for all the dishes at once compared to an individual manual wash. As long as you let them air dry, you’re coming out in the black. Finally, the fridge operates on a lower energy consumption level when it’s fuller, because it does less work to return to its equilibrium temperature after being opened when there is less room for warm air to enter.
A second convenient site for energy saving in summertime is the air conditioning system itself. Setting the thermostat to an ideal target range of 78 degrees when you’re in the house and relying on it, and then turning it up to 85 degrees when the house is empty, can keep you in the range that is both comfortable and affordable. Paying attention the air conditioner filters as well can ensure that the system is operating as efficiently as possible without wasting energy pushing past debris that has accumulated. Speaking of filters, checking the filters in your washing machine and swimming pool (if you have one) are two more easy ways to make sure you’re trimming unnecessary costs and saving all your money for the pure cost of temperate comfort. Best of luck, and remember, a glass of lemonade goes a long way!