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Summer Conservation Strategies That Work, Even if You’re Lazy

Whether you’re a zealous conservationist or just looking for easy wins, these tips can help you keep high summer utility bills at bay.

Don Milne Jun 28, 2018

Nothing says summer like the whirring of air conditioning units or the hissing of lawn sprinklers. Unfortunately, those sounds also signal greater energy usage and higher utility bills.

Now is a great time to take steps to reduce your energy use, which will help cushion the blow to your monthly utility bill — and conserve natural resources at the same time.

Some of these tips are easier than others — great for lazy people trying to save money. Other steps are a little more extreme:some would say these are reasonable if you are crazy.

Look over this list of lazy and crazy steps. Keep track of how lazy or crazy you are.

Install a programmable thermostat.

This is lazy. Once installed and programmed the thermostat takes care of changing the temp so you don’t pay as much when no one is home. The EPA estimates this could result in savings of $180 a year.

Take navy showers.

This is crazy. While a typical 8-minute shower uses 20 gallons of water, a navy shower, which uses only enough water to get you wet and then rinse off, can be done with 3 gallons of water. You save water and the cost to heat the water. If you are really crazy, leave the water in the tub and use it to fill your toilet when it’s time to flush instead of pushing the handle.

Install energy-efficient light bulbs.

This is lazy. New-style compact fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs use just a fraction of the energy as conventional incandescent light bulbs. They do cost more than regular light bulbs, but if you just buy enough for high use areas, you will save money automatically and can spend less time policing the house telling kids to turn off lights.

Hang dry your laundry.

This is crazy. Hello 1940s. Hanging the laundry used to be a way of life. It is still a viable way to dry clothing, it just takes a lot more time and space. But in the hot summer months, you may find it dries items quicker than it would in the machine.

Set your water heater to 120 degrees or get a tankless water heater.

This is lazy. A traditional water heater constantly keeps the full tank heated to the setting you choose. If you choose a lower temperature, it cost you less. While more expensive up front, a tankless water heater only heats water when it is used and should have a much longer life usage. Either way, you save money without doing any extra steps.

Open windows at night and close them in the morning.

This is crazy. In the Intermountain West, nights are usually cool enough that you can open windows around your home at night so your home is nice and cool in the morning. Then after closing the windows in the morning, your air conditioner has to work less. Lazy would be to leave the windows closed all the time, but that will cost you.

Dump your landline.

This is lazy. When was the last time you used your home phone? The majority of U.S. households are now wireless only and are saving hundreds of dollars a year.

Unplug unused electronics.

This is crazy. Standby power can use up to 10 percent of your home’s electricity use. Keeping unused electronics unplugged keeps you from paying for this unneeded electricity. 

Insulate.

This is lazy. Basic physics means the inside and outside of your home want to reach the same temperature. To keep your home cool in summer or warm in winter, you need to make sure your insulation is up to snuff or you’re just leaking money out of the house.

Do laundry at night.

This is crazy. Some utility companies charge less for electricity used during non-peak hours.

Are you more lazy than crazy? Crazy will save you more money, but even lazy steps can lower your utility costs so you have more money to use elsewhere. Spend it as lazy or crazy as you want.

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