You know that moment when you grab a jacket you haven’t worn in a while, reach into one of the pockets and find a $20 bill you didn’t know was there? In a lot of ways, saving water and energy resources in summer is like finding money you didn’t know you had. Because utilities are billed on a usage basis, when you use less, you save cash.
Further, a good homeowners insurance calculator will show you how doing things like upgrading your HVAC unit to a newer, more efficient one will lower the cost of your policy. There’s money to be found in your home. Here’s how to get your hands on it.
Keep Heat Out of the House
Closing doors and windows, along with keeping your curtains and blinds drawn prevents outside heat from entering your home. Similarly, you can plant trees on the south and west sides of your home to provide shade during the warmest part of the day. Choose deciduous ones (trees that shed their leaves in winter) so those areas of your house get sun during the colder months to help heat the house. If your home is older, upgrade to dual-pane windows with e-coatings for added insulation. Some energy companies offer rebates to help cover the cost of doing so.
Get Cool with Being Warm
When you leave home to go to work in the summer months, turn off the A/C or raise the thermostat so it isn’t working overtime to cool an empty house. While we’re on the subject of your HVAC system, get in the habit of changing its filter regularly. Expert opinions waver between doing so each season and monthly. Start out checking it every month, if it isn’t getting dirty then go quarterly. Clean filters let air flow more freely, which in turn makes the system operate more efficiently.
Use Refrigerators and Microwaves Strategically
The more often you open your refrigerator, the harder it has to work to maintain temperature. When preparing meals, plan carefully so you get everything you need in one pass, as opposed to opening the door repeatedly. If you need to heat food, microwave ovens use electricity more efficiently and pump less heat into the house. If you have to store hot food, let it cool before placing it in the refrigerator. The heat it releases will make the refrigerator work harder to keep everything else cool.
Water the Lawn When It’s Cooler Out
Heat evaporates water, so running your sprinkler system in the middle of the day when the sun is at its peak means less water gets into the ground. Put your sprinkler system on a timer and set it to water just before sunrise so the water can soak into the ground and plants can dry to prevent fungal growth. Also, make sure your sprinklers are aimed so the water hits plants rather than sidewalks and driveways.
Keep Your Toilet Tank Sealed
Water can actually seep past those little rubber flapper seals into the toilet bowl without your knowledge. Put 10 drops of food coloring into the storage tank and come back in about 15 minutes or so. If the color is in the bowl, you need to change the flapper. When using your toilet in drought conditions, if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.
Time Your Showers
Yes, a nice long cool shower at the end of a hot day feels great — there’s no denying it. But the average shower-head passes 2.1 gallons of water each minute. Cutting that cool shower from 10 minutes to five minutes saves approximately 10.5 gallons of water. Ditto all the water wasted when you’re waiting for the shower to warm up in the morning — rather than letting it run down the drain, capture it in a large lightweight trash can and use it to water plants.
These six ideas will send you well on your way toward saving water and energy resources in summer—as well as cutting your household expenses. Replacing your water heater with a more efficient unit is another way to save energy and potentially cut your insurance costs.
Check out the CoverHound homeowners insurance calculator today to learn more!