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Savings Guide

The Summertime switch off challenge

Save power and save moneyThe summer months sometimes seem to have a trance-like effect on people. As the heat rises, people wilt, dropping into chairs and fanning themselves, napping more, cranking up the air-conditioning to frostbite levels and lowering the lights, turning rooms into cold, dark caves in which to hide from the sun.

For some reason, when people think of saving energy they tend to concentrate on the winter months and their heating bill. This is probably because a lower winter thermostat setting means wearing a jumper and some fuzzy slippers, and you’re perfectly comfortable, while in the summer setting your air-conditioning a little bit higher isn’t as simple a solution, at least not until we educate the world about the joys of nudism. It’s just as important to save energy during the summer months, though – and maybe even more important, as air-conditioning a room can cost as much as one dollar an hour, which adds up pretty fast.

Summer energy saving tips

The best way to save power is always passively. Techniques or tricks that require a lot of work on your part may make you feel industrious and committed, but the fact is we’re all busy and lifestyle changes that require our active attention will slowly be supplanted by other problems, and then forgotten. The best strategy to reduce energy usage is to make a one-time effort and then let it do its work. That’s why a standby power switch, like the EcoSwitch, is ideal: it takes a few minutes to install, and after that it’s just the press of a button to save energy all summer long.

There are two main ways eliminating standby power works for you during the summer months. One is obvious: your appliances all still sip power from the walls, whether it’s winter or summer. Having a standby power switch between them and the wall should be a year-round tactic. As appliances such as refrigerators get more efficient, it’s recently been announced that the unholy trio of television, DVR, and set top box now represent the biggest ‘vampires’ in your home for standby power consumption; a standby switch left in place all year can have a huge impact.

Fans increase energy efficiency

No one is suggesting that you turn off your air conditioning during the summer and sizzle in your home, but there are plenty of ways to stay comfortable in the hottest weather and still reduce electricity use:

  • Set air conditioning to a higher temperature. You don’t need it to be a winter day inside, and your system won’t be able to make your house resemble a walk-in freezer so setting it below a reasonable temperature won’t work anyway;
  • Use the energy saver setting, which runs the compressor less often;
  • Use fans. Setting the air-conditioner to a higher temperature and placing oscillating fans around the home, or installing ceiling fans on high ceilings, can have the same cooling effect while using much less energy. Air circulation is key: by moving the cooler air around, and using ceiling fans to push warmer air back down to be cooled off, you create a much more energy efficient environment.

The final suggestion: Place a standby power switch between those fans and the wall, and make sure they are all turned off when you’re not home, or when temperatures fall and you’re not running the air. When you go to bed at night, turn off the air-conditioning in the other rooms and concentrate on keeping your bedroom comfortable. Timers, often built into the air-conditioning units or thermostats these days, can make this an automatic occurrence. And if you have an EcoSwitch attached to the fans in each room, turning them off for the evening is as simple as pressing a button – you won’t even need to get out of bed!

Being energy efficient is a year-round commitment. Electricity usage spikes in the summer months as people try to bear the heat, and as a result that’s the season we need to be even more careful about our energy usage, not less. Find your highest comfortable temperature, don’t cool rooms you aren’t using, and get those standby power switches in place so you control your own power profile. And then go get some ice cream. You deserve it.