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Energy Saving Tips for Your Home, While You’re Away

It is the time of year when many families are packing their bags and heading out for a week or so to enjoy their family vacation. While away on vacation, I’m sure one of the last things on anyone’s mind is, “Are we conserving energy at home right now?”. However, perhaps that thought should cross their mind. I mean, why waste, and pay for, electricity that you are not even using? To help make sure you are not wasting energy at home while you are away this vacation, here are several energy saving tips from Bounce Energy, to make sure you are saving as much energy and money as possible.

7 Energy Efficiency Tips for Your Home While on Your Vacation

Energy Efficiency for Home

Vacations are a time when you can relax a bit, forget about the little stresses of life, and spend some quality time with your families. However, people are often in such a hurry to pack and get out of town, they forget to prepare their home so that their electricity usage goes down while they are away.

You might be thinking, “No one is home playing video games or running the air conditioner, so we’ll automatically use less energy!” Well, just because your house is empty of people, that doesn’t mean that the appliances and lights have stopped sucking electricity from the grid. Thankfully, homeowners can save a significant amount of money by practicing a few simple energy saving tips to keep their electricity usage down while on vacation.

1) Heating and Cooling

With everyone out of the home for a few days, there is no reason to keep the heater or central air running, unless pets will be left at the house. Even with a pet or two in the home, you shouldn’t set the thermostat for 72 when there is no one there to enjoy it. Instead, during the hot summer months, the thermostat can either be set for 90 or turned off completely.

The winter is a little more tricky. The thermostat should be set around 50 degrees to keep appliances and pipes from freezing. The worst way to end a vacation is to come home to a flooded basement or frozen dishwasher.

For every degree a thermostat is raised during the summer, a homeowner will save 2-3 percent on his or her electricity bill. If a thermostat usually set for a steady temperature of 72 degrees is raised to 90, then, at a minimum, this will result in a 32% savings on the electric bill for that period of time. If the home has a programmable thermostat that can be adjusted by date, then it can be set to change the temperature the day of arrival, so the family will come home to a comfortable household.

The only caveat to this is in the case of pets. If your family is going on a vacation of several weeks, your animals should either be boarded or an arrangement should be made with a friend to care for the animals daily, including feeding, watering, and walking (if necessary). If the pets are left in the home, then the temperature should not be set so high or low that it will cause them unnecessary discomfort. Your veterinarian will be able to advise a homeowner what household temperature will keep the pets safe while conserving energy.

2) Water Heater

The water heater is one of those appliances that people don’t think about on a regular basis. It sits in a out-of-the-way part of the house (usually the basement or attic) heating your water, and you only remember it when the water runs cold during a long shower. It’s also easy to forget about when leaving on a vacation.

Before heading to the airport, shut off the circuit breaker to the water heater. If you have a gas heater, turn the gas valve off to be safe. Upon returning home, the hot water tap should be allowed to run before the power and gas are turned on to make sure the water tank isn’t empty. It can damage the unit if the tank is heated without any water in it.

If you go on a winter vacation, you should leave the water heater on at the lowest possible (or “vacation” setting) to keep the water from freezing in the lines and tank.

3) Electronics and Appliances

Even with the home empty and the television and major appliances turned off, they are still using electricity. We call them “energy vampires.” Before the family leaves, someone should walk around the home and unplug every unnecessary appliance and electronic. This doesn’t just include the television, lamps, and entertainment center. Small electronics like electric razors, coffee pots, digital clocks, and cell phone chargers all drain energy when plugged in. Nothing needs to be moved, simply unplugged. This not only saves energy, but also eliminates a possible fire hazard if there would be a power surge while no one is home.

4) Automatic Lights

People don’t want their houses to look unoccupied while on vacation, because it’s easy for burglars to spot. Many times, the easiest thing to do is leave a light or two on inside to keep it lit during the evening hours. This could be a lamp in the living room or even a larger light that may provide light for the entire dining room. While this is a good safety idea, it’s an unnecessary waste of energy with the invention of automatic light devices. These devices place the lights on a timer, so at a specific time of the day certain lights will turn on and off, as needed. It gives the illusion of being home and prevents wasted energy by keeping lights off during the day.

The automatic timers range from as little as $10 to $30 for an average unit. They can also be used to turn on a radio to add sound as a further deterrent to burglars.

If you don’t have an automatic light timer, just ask a friend to visit the home every couple of days to turn on a light at night and turn it off during the day. This is an easy task, especially if they are already visiting to help with pets or plants.

5) Blinds and Curtains

Saving energy doesn’t always require using or not using something electrical. Most windows in a home have either blinds or curtains. Usually, they are used to let light in or keep light out, but when on vacation, they can be a useful way to conserve heat energy.

Lower the blinds and close the curtains when leaving for vacation. This simple act will keep heat from coming in during the summer and letting heat out during the winter. If the furnace is on and set to a lower temperature, lowering the shades and closing the curtains helps to slow the rising or lowering of the temperature in the home.

6) Refrigerators

The refrigerator is the electronic equivalent of a V-8 gas hog, sucking electricity like a chrome-covered high-performance engine. An extended vacation gives you the opportunity to get rid of the food in the fridge, clean it a bit, and unplug it. If the house is vacant for only a few days, it’s not worth the trouble to unplug the device, as much of the food will still be good upon return, but extended stays are a different story.

Before leaving, the homeowner should unload the food and clean out the refrigerator thoroughly, leaving the doors open to air out. Also, placing a box of baking soda in the freezer and refrigerator will draw in the moisture and help prevent mold growth. Taking the refrigerator offline will save a significant amount of energy while nobody is home.

As an alternative to turning off the refrigerator, the refrigerator temperature can be set around 42 degrees and the freezer around 5 degrees. This is enough to keep everything cold and frozen, but still save energy over the vacation period. As a precaution, it is a good idea to clean out the refrigerator of any leftovers, raw vegetables, and other perishables, and keep only new foods that won’t spoil while the house is empty.

7) Save Money and Stress on Vacation

Vacations can cost a significant amount of money for a family, even with all of the fun you’ll have together. It’s nice to know that, by practicing these tips and tricks, you can save money on electric bill by drastically decreasing your electricity while you’re out of the house. When recovering from the cost of a vacation, every little bit helps. Bon voyage!


Earth Day, In Denver

Today is April 22nd, also known as Earth Day. Today is a day that everyone is supposed to go the extra mile to do something positive for the environment. All across the country, many major cities have several Earth Day events which the public can attend. Denver, happens to be one of those cities. In fact, this article from FOX31 Denver, lists several of the events being held in and around the city.

DENVER — Wednesday is Earth Day and there will be events throughout the metro area.


More than 50 sustainable businesses, organizations and city agencies will be at the annual Earth Day Fair at Civic Center Park. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with Mayor Michael Hancock touring the event from 11:45 a.m .to 12:45 p.m.

Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel

A Project C.U.R.E. Earth Day plant sale will be held at the hotel (1550 Court Place) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Downtown Aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium (700 Water St.) will have a Party for the Planet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a nature-themed scavenger hunt, conservation crafts and activities, animal feedings and an interactive dive show.

The Alliance Center, Denver

The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado will host a recycle and reuse drive at The Alliance Center. The public can bring items to be recycled or reused from noon to 7 p.m. at the center’s parking lot (1536 Wynkoop St.)..

Foundations Academy, Brighton

Students from Foundations Academy in Brighton will plant flowers outside the school from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Students will also hang signs around the school about recycling and help students learn more about how to help Earth.

Merryhill Preschool, Highlands Ranch

Preschoolers at Merryhill Preschool in Highlands Ranch (9345 S. Colorado Blvd.) will release thousands of ladybugs back into the environment from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Colorado State will host a volunteer tree planting as part of its designation as a Tree Campus USA. The trees will be planted at 2 p.m. near Danforth Chapel.

Denver International Airport, Among the Greenest in the U.S.

Denver International Airport, the largest airport in The United States, also just so happens to be one of the greenest in the nation as well. According to this article from Urbanful, DIA, ranks as one of the top six greenest airports in the entire country! Check out this article and see what makes DIA, so green.

Inside America’s greenest airports


The Nickel Tour: These are the most innovative and environmentally friendly airports around the U.S.

Not only is flying usually the most expensive part of traveling, it also has the highest impact on the environment. Airports themselves have been stepping up their eco-game by instituting sustainable initiatives from green building practices and energy reduction programs, to better waste management, recycling, and resource conservation. Check out what some of our “greener” airports have been up to.


San Diego International Airport (SNA) is now home to the world’s first LEEDPlatinum (the highest environmental certification possible) certified commercial airport terminal.

San Diego was the first US airport to adopt a formal sustainability policy back in 2008. In 2012, the oceanside airport, became the first in the U.S. to install LEDs on its runways, guard lights, and airfield signs.

Sustainable features include a 3.3-megawatt solar array, low-flow water fixtures that save the airport approximately 4 million gallons of water annually, drought-tolerant landscaping, energy-efficient and natural lighting (daylight-harvesting lights automatically turn down when natural light is brighter), reflective roofs, and non-toxic interior construction materials and paints.


Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) focuses sustainable efforts on conservation. The airport has 307 acres of sand dunes voluntarily set aside as a nature preserve. Native plants and animals, including the delicate El Segundo Blue Butterfly (among the first insects put on the federal endangered species list back in 1976), are thriving again as part of this restoration project. LAX created this habitat, the largest remaining coastal dune area in Southern California, with a goal of preserving the coastal buckwheat plant, which is the only source of food for the El Segundo Blue Butterfly.


Indianapolis International Airport (IND) is the granddaddy of green airports. In 2011, IND was the first airport in the U.S. to win LEED® certification for an entire terminal campus. Now, the airport is home to the largest airport-based solar farm on the planet. It is able to supply enough energy to power 3,200 homes. When fully completed by the end of the year, the IND solar farm will encompass more than 150 acres, with more than 76,000 solar panels, and generate more than 31 million kilowatt hours.


Not only does Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) have a wetlands restoration program, electric vehicle charging stations, green fleet vehicles, and anaeroponic garden for use by its restaurants, it now has the first major on-airport apiary (bee yard) in the U.S.

In 2011, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) installed an apiary of 28 beehives at O’Hare, and this year it expanded to 75. With more than 1 million bees, it’s the largest apiary at any airport in the world. In the first year, the ORD bees produced 1,200 pounds of honey which is sold at the O’Hare farmer’s market in Terminal 3 and at retailers like Whole Foods. The work is done in partnership with an employment program offering valuable job experience to ex-offenders and disadvantaged people.


As one of the nation’s newest airports, Denver International Airport (DIA) was built with sustainability in mind. DIA uses natural day-lighting, a comprehensive deicing fluid collection and recycling system, pre-conditioned air supplied to aircraft parked at gates to reduce emissions, and a hydrant system for fuel deliveries to reduce the potential for spills and excessive fuel truck traffic. Denver Airport’s fourth solar array is now online, bringing the airport’s total solar generating capacity to 10 megawatts, or 16 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. That’s enough electricity to power about 2,600 typical Denver-area homes each year.

And now the airport is partnering with one of its newest restaurants, Root Down, to pilot the airport’s first commercial composting program in the concourse area. The restaurant will collect all of its organic and compostable materials which will be collected daily and taken to an off-site facility. Their hope is to get additional tenants to embrace this and other programs to reduce their overall environmental impact.


We’d be remiss to leave San Francisco International Airport  (SFO) off the list. Unsurprisingly, they have a LEED Gold certified terminal, a greenhouse gas emissions reduction program, solar panels, are increasing their use of clean fuels or electric vehicles, planted 2,020 trees of over 15 different species, resulting in an estimated 121 metric tons of carbon sequestration per year, and have one of the largest recycling and composting programs in the county in which 75% of the solid waste is getting recycled.

But they also have goats.

Every year hundreds of goats are used to graze on brush as part of the airport’s unique —and environmentally friendly—approach to fire prevention. The airport owns 180-acres of undeveloped, protected land which is home to two endangered species—the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog. Since machines can’t be used, goats spend two weeks each spring munching away a firebreak on the west side of the airport to protect nearby homes from potential fires.

Images courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Bringing Back the Clothesline

When I was a child, hanging your clothes out to dry in the sun was a fairly regular thing. I can recall helping my grandmother take down and fold the laundry once it was dry, and never found it to be a large inconvenience. However, I don’t think I know of one person in my life (including myself), that doesn’t use an electric dryer to dry their clothes today. Why is this? Well, I’m sure the amount of drying time from one method to another is a factor. Maybe it has to do with where people live, since some homeowners associations have outlawed line drying. The thought of hanging clothes, as opposed to just tossing them in a dryer, may seem like too much effort to some. Or, perhaps the thought of possibly hanging your under garments outside to dry may make some people a bit embarrassed.

Whatever the reason is for this change, the fact remains, an electric dryer uses a ton of energy and runs up your electric bill. While on the other hand, using a clothesline does neither of these things. In this article from Green Cleaning Magazine, they list the pros of using the sun to dry your clothes, as opposed to the energy consuming electric dryer we’ve all become so dependent on.

Green Cleaning: How Line Drying Can Save the Planet


It may seem like a way of the past, but line-drying clothes has never been more appropriate for the times we live in. Electric clothes dryers are one of the most energy-hungry and expensive appliances to operate and are major carbon emitters. Hanging your clothes on a line, however, saves electricity, reduces carbon emissions and—bonus—costs virtually nothing.

Save money and energy

Electric dryers account for approximately six percent of total household electricity use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Ditch the dryer and you can save at least $70 to $100 off your electricity bill every year. After the initial small cost for the line-drying set up (clothespins, string, and/or an indoor drying rack), hanging your clothes to dry is free and uses no electricity, so you’ll save every month.

Curb emissions

Need more reason to hang your clothes out to dry? Over 32 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 43 billion kWh, and 443 million therms of natural gas are emitted every year in the U.S. from electric dryers (according to the Environmental Protection Agency). Air-drying can reduce a household’s carbon footprint by a whopping 2,400 pounds a year. So, even if you don’t hang every load, each time you do you are helping to protect the planet.

Air-drying is simple

There’s nothing like that fresh, air-dried laundry scent. Hanging clothes outside gives you that satisfaction naturally without the chemicals in dryer sheets or that static cling. You can simply use a string tied between two poles or trees, and count on the power of the sun and wind to dry your clothes. The act itself can be soothing as you get a chance to be outside doing a mindless activity.

If it’s raining or very cold in the winter, use an indoor drying rack (also known as a clothes horse). Many can be folded up when not in use. You can also use hangers or drape large items like sheets and towels over a door, banister, or shower rod.

Save your clothes

Air-drying will also increase the lifespan of your clothes. Electric dryers weaken fabric fibers, resulting in all the lint in your drying machine. Using a clothesline will not cause fibers to wear off. Extra bonus: sunlight has a sanitizing effect.

Taking back the right to dry

Committing to hang your laundry out to dry may be met with an unlikely obstacle: some homeowners associations across the U.S. have made clotheslines illegal. Why? Some cite aesthetics in highly populated communities, but there has also been pressure from the electric dryer manufacturing community.

In response, a movement led by Project Laundry List  to revolutionize the clothesline is growing in advocacy and support around hang-drying clothes. We previously highlighted Steven Lake’s documentary, “Drying for Freedom,” which covers the movement and the hurdles to bringing back the clothesline. The good news is that 19 states have passed legislation for the “Right to Dry,” invalidating ordinances that make it illegal.

If your state is not one of them and you live in a community with a homeowners association, inquire about the rules on line-drying outdoors and contact your state and local representatives to let them know you want the right to dry.

Tips for Celebrating Earth Day

Since 1970, April 22nd has been “Earth Day”, a day when everyone should be mindful of blog-earththe environment and do what they can (at least for a day) to reduce their carbon footprint. Today is a day to do our part in taking care of our home, our planet, Earth. Here are a few simple tips on how to participate and celebrate this Earth Day.

“Leave the Car at Home”- I think it’s safe to say that one of the biggest causes of pollution on a daily basis are cars. Instead of driving to work, try walking or riding a bike. If you happen to live to far from your job to either walk or ride a bike, try using public transportation or at least carpool.

“Plant a Tree”- Nothing symbolizes Earth Day, quite like the planting of a tree. Planting anything, really, is a positive thing for the environment. Think of it as your way of helping to offset the destruction of the world’s rainforests.

“Switch Out Your Lightbulbs”- It sounds simple, and it is, but switching from incandescent to fluorescent lightbulbs can actually have a real positive effect on how much energy you use to light your home.

“Brown Bag-It”- If you usually purchase your lunch, try bringing one from home. Instead of buying a drink which you throw away when your done, try bringing water, juice or coffee from home in a reusable bottle or thermos.

“Make Everyday Earth Day”- The absolute best way to celebrate Earth Day, is to make a commitment to doing your part to help the environment everyday. Little changes in our lives can have a big impact on the environment.

These are just a few ways we can all celebrate this Earth Day. There are many more ways you can help the environment, most are so simple you’d never know you were making a difference…..but you are!

Cleaning Can Help With Energy Savings

There are a ton of reasons why maintaining a clean home is very important and beneficial. blog-energyBesides some of the obvious benefits of keeping your home clean (organization, health, and overall appearance), maintaining your home, especially your appliances, can actually have an effect on the amount of energy that is used in your home as well. Making sure certain appliances are dusted regularly can have an impact on how much energy they use to perform their job. Energy Smart, has a few tips on how to save some energy this spring and summer, by doing a little spring cleaning.

Spring Clean Your Way to Energy Savings

It’s the time of year when many people stash away winter gear and prep their businesses and homes for the warm summer months. It’s also a good opportunity to make sure a business or home is running as energy efficiently as possible.

Here’s a checklist of ways to turn your spring cleaning into an energy-saving event: Redirect ceiling fans. Air conditioning often produces the highest electricity bill in a business or home, especially when it’s used consistently during the summer months. So a worthy goal is limiting your air conditioning use as much as possible. One way to avoid A/C use is using ceiling fans. In the winter months, ceiling fans should go clockwise to push rising warm air downward. In the summer, however, the fans should circulate counterclockwise for the opposite effect. It’s usually as easy as flipping a switch in the center of the fan.

Change air-conditioning filters. Keeping your air filters clean will not only improve air quality, but will ensure your system is working as efficiently as possible.

Dust off electronics, light bulbs and vents. Dust prevents electronics and other infrastructure from running at maximum capacity. Make sure to dust off all light bulbs, office equipment and electronics. Also make sure to clear dust off vents to prevent air circulation obstruction.

Seal air leaks. Just like warm air seeps out of buildings or homes in the winter, it seeps in during the summer. It’s estimated that 30% of heating and cooling bills are consumed by air leakage. You can buy weather stripping and duct tape and specialty kits to seal up air leaks you encounter.

Use a programmable thermostat. One good way to control cooling costs is to use a thermostat that allows you to program the temperature throughout the day, thereby using less cooling when rooms or homes are unoccupied. You might, for instance, keep the setting at 72 degrees in the summer when the space is occupied but raise the temp to 78 when after closing.

Vacuum refrigerator coils. Dust that builds up on refrigerator coils can force the fridge to work harder to keep things cold. So remove it.

Tune up the AC. Even if your filters are new, there are other issues such as low coolant levels that may be taxing your air-conditioning system. Getting a professional maintenance check before summer can ensure your system is working efficiently.

Green Gadgets

Remember beepers? Flip phones? AOL? There was a time when those were groundbreaking advancements in technology. Now, you can listen to an entire library of music, watch a movie, or just browse the internet while waiting at the bus stop all from your phone. It’s pretty crazy how much technology has changed in just the last decade. Well, the “green” community is advancing as well. In fact, some of the newest green gadgets were on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas. Here is an article from Enviro Maids, which highlights some of these new advancements in green technology. Pretty cool stuff.

Latest Green Gadgets at the International Consumer Electronics Show

blog-CESEach January, thousand flock to the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to catch a glimpse of the latest and greatest technologies and innovations in consumer products. This year’s show took place January 5-10 in Las Vegas and showcased an impressive array of state-of-the-art products. Our favorite products come from the “green” category, of course! Here are some of the standout green products for the home and why we love them.

EverSense Thermostat by Allure Energy, Inc.

This “smart” thermostat features a Wi-Fi touchscreen and Proximity Control Technology to make your home greener and more energy efficient. Proximity Control is a patented technology that controls and adjusts your home’s temperature while you’re away based on how near or far you’re from your house. While you’re at work or away on vacation, you probably adjust the setting on your thermostat to save energy while your home is empty. When you return home, you adjust the temperature back to your ideal setting. With EverSense’s Proximity Control, the thermostat works like a GPS system, sensing your proximity to your home and adjusts the temperature automatically before you arrive home. You’ll always come home to the perfect temperature. The EverSense thermostat works using the Eversense mobile app for iPhone or Android.

RZT S Zero Lawn Mower by Cub Cadet

Move over electric cars, now there’s an electric lawn mower! Manufactured by Cub Cadet, the RZT S Zero ride mower is chock-full of environmentally-friendly features. According to the company website, features include:

  • Zero engine noise
  • Zero gasoline
  • Zero filters to change
  • Zero belts to change
  • Zero engine heat
  • Zero oil
  • Zero oil disposal
  • Zero gasoline emissions

LG Front Load Mega Capacity TurboWash Washer

This large capacity washer is huge in size and huge in savings. This 5.2-cubic-foot capacity washer features TurboWash Technology that gets through even large loads 20 minutes faster than traditional washers. LG’s ColdWash setting makes this washer even more energy efficient. According to the LG website, the ColdWash setting cleans as well as warmer settings yet saves you 60 to 91 percent more energy per load.

LG Electric Double Oven Range with EasyClean

This kitchen workhorse is perfect for entertaining. Featuring an infrared heating element, broiling time takes 20 percent less time than conventional ovens. According to the LG website, this electric, double-oven range is a breeze to clean thanks to the EasyClean technology. Unlike other self-cleaning ovens, this LG oven takes only 20 minutes to thoroughly clean and only requires water. No harmful chemicals! The secret is the enamel lining. Simply spray the surfaces inside the oven with water and press the EasyClean button. Twenty minutes later, wipe any bits of loosened dirt and you’re done!

Samsung DV457 Front-Load Dryer

Large household appliances such as dryers are notorious energy sappers. When it comes to energy efficiency, Samsung wins top prize. The Samsung DV457 Dryer is the first dryer to ever receive the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Emerging Technology Award. According to, an ENERGY STAR Emerging Technology Award winning clothes dryer could:

  • Save enough energy in a year to run an ENERGY STAR certified clothes washer for 11 months.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 6,000 pounds.

Another useful feature on this energy-saving dryer is the VentSensor feature that notifies you if there’s lint blocking in the vent filter. Cleaning your vents regularly improves dryer performance.

Belkin LED Lighting Starter Set and Smart LED bulbs

Belkin’s lighting system allows you control, dim and schedule your lighting from anywhere via the WeMo app and Wi-Fi. Gone are the days of leaving forgotten lights on while you’re away from home. The long-lasting bulbs provide a warm, white light equivalent to a 60-watt bulb and can last up to a remarkable 23 years. Other features include:

  • Switch lights on or off or adjust time schedule from anywhere
  • Fully dimmable
  • Vacation mode turns lights on and off so it looks like your home is occupied
  • Dim to sleep — gradually dim lights to fall asleep more naturally

A Few Tips To Beat The Heat

BLOG-HEATIt has officially been summer for a week now, and so far it looks like it may be a hot one. When it comes to keeping cool during the hot summer months, there are many ways to try to beat the heat. Obviously, going for a swim in a nice cool pool is probably one of the best ways to keep cool, and of course many people pump up their air conditioning. Maybe you don’t have access to a pool, or perhaps you don’t want to run up your energy bill by having the air conditioner running all day; what are some other ways to keep cool? In this article from Four Green Steps, you are given several tips on how to beat the heat, without having to waste energy.

Green Ways to Beat the Heat

It’s summertime and it’s HOT! While trying to beat the heat, consider different options that are more green and eco-friendly than blasting the air conditioner. There are many ways you can cool yourself and your home that avoid air conditioning and will save you money. The ideal alternative is, of course, a good old fashioned fan. Using a fan plus all the other points outlined in this article will help you stay cool and beat the summer heat. They may all seem small or insignificant but using some or all can help you significantly cool off in the summer while being eco-friendly.


Get a fan


Ideally, if you do not have a ceiling fan, try to have one installed because they are great for circulating air. In the summer, make sure that the fan is circulating counterclockwise (and in the winter, clockwise). The fan does not need to be on when you are not in the room, so you can also install a motion detector (just be careful about pets always moving about when you are not there).


Fans can be your best friend during the hot summer heat waves. While you are in the room, turn on your fan and enjoy the breeze. They are cheap to run and cool you off. Even if you must use an air conditioner, a fan can help circulate the cold air.


Open the windows at night and have a fan by them to bring in the cool night air (make sure you have at least 2 windows open so a breeze can travel through your home). During the day, close your windows and let the fans circulate the cool air. If you have fans going at least 1 mile per hour, you can feel at least 4 degrees cooler.


You can also place a bowl of ice water in front of the fan to help circulate some colder air without running an air conditioner. Or soak some fabric in water and hang it in front of the fan or window as well.


Block out the sun with curtains


The suns rays really heat up your house during the day time. So when you close your windows during the day, make sure you also close your blinds or curtains. If you don’t have any, try to get some in a light shade made of natural or organic materials, like cotton, that are fairly opaque to the summer sun.


Wear lightweight and loose fabrics



Your clothing choice has a huge effect on how hot or cool you feel. Lighter shades and natural fabrics will help you feel a lot cooler, such as organic cottons or bamboo. Keep your clothes fitting loose so your body is able to breathe and lose heat under the fabric. Also make sure your linen is also of natural fabrics so moisture is wicked away from you while you are sleeping.


Reduce the amount of added artificial heat in your home



Avoid using your oven in the summer. It adds a ton of unnecessary heat to your home. Try using the microwave or a toaster oven. This not only saves the amount of heat being released, but also uses less energy and you save money.


Do not run your dryer in the summer either. Get a clothes line and hang dry everything. The suns rays are super warm and do a better job at drying your clothes. Allowing your clothes to hang dry will also help them last longer, as they are not being beaten up in the dryer.


Let your hair air dry as well. Your hair will be less damaged from the heat and your head will feel so much cooler without all that added heat. You can even go one step further and cut your hair shorter.


If you haven’t switched to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) already, it’s time to do so. CFLs use less energy and produce less heat than incandescent light bulbs.


Eat spicy food


Spicy food will help you sweat and once the sweat starts to dry, you will feel cool. Some of the spiciest foods come from some of the warmest climates, so perhaps they know something we don’t. Sweating is your body’s natural defense to being warm, so help your body out.



Become a raw foodist



You will cut back on a lot of energy used, and therefore heat, when you start eating more meals raw. Eating raw will mean you no longer use your oven, microwave, toaster oven, stovetop or anything else that heats and cooks your food beyond 115˚F. Eating raw will also help your body stay cool because you are not eating hot food that will warm you from the inside. Click here for a video on how to switch to a raw food diet. You do not need to go all out (it’d be great if you did!) but try to add as much raw food to your diet as you can in the summer.


Drink a lot of water



As your body is sweating a lot, you need to replenish the lost water. When it’s hot out, it is very important to make sure you stay hydrated. As you sweat, you also lose a lot of salt, so make sure you also replenish your salt levels. Staying hydrated and replenishing salt will help keep your body at a good temperature.


Take a cold shower



Cold showers help save energy, have many health benefits and also save water. They save water because you do not need to wait for the water to become hot, and you won’t want to stay in the shower quite as long. Some health benefits are that it increases blood circulation, strengthens the nervous system and closes pores. For more information on the benefits of cold showers, check out this article.


Turn the air conditioner off or at least up



If you must turn on the energy consuming air conditioner, make sure you keep the temperature at a reasonable level, like above 26˚C or 78˚F. At night, try to open windows rather than keep the air conditioner running. Also, when you are not home, turn the air conditioner off, or keep it at fairly high temperatures, and turn it back on when you get back, it will cool things off fairly quickly.


Preparing Your Home For Vacation

It’s that time of year when many families are planning their vacation. Before leaving for your vacation, there are a few things you should do to keep your things safe and lower your utility bills. In this article from USA Today, they give you some tips on how to prep your home before you leave for vacation. Hopefully these tips will help put your mind at ease and allow you to truly enjoy your time off.

Prep your home for your vacation absence

A vacation requires preparation, including arranging flights, reserving hotel rooms and finding things to do.

It also involves preparing your home for your absence.

No matter how long you’ll be gone, whether a few days or several months, here are steps you can take to make your house safer and lower your utility bills. Short-term absences generally mean one week or less.


Details: An air-conditioner accounts for about half of your annual electrical bill, says Tom Hines, energy-efficiency expert at Arizona Public Services. Every degree you turn up the thermostat will save you 2 percent on your cooling costs, according to Salt River Project.

Short-term: Turn up the thermostat to about 85 degrees. Doing so will still protect your plants, furniture and other belongings without running up your energy bill.

Long-term: Again, turn up the thermostat to about 85 degrees. Ask a friend or neighbor you trust to water your plants.

Pool pump

Details: If you have a pool, continue to run the pump so the pool doesn’t develop algae and turn green.

Short-term: Check your pool-pump settings before you leave to make sure they are where you want them to be. If you have a spa, turn off the heat.

Long-term: Do the above. Also, have a neighbor, friend or pool service check the pool periodically to make sure the pump is operating properly.

General plumbing

Details: No one wants to come home from a relaxing vacation to a plumbing leak.

Short-term: Turn off water at the main shut-off valve, unless some household items require it to remain on. Such items may include an ice maker, an automatic sprinkler system that doesn’t have a separate shut-off, and a pool.

Long-term: Do the same. While you’re gone, have a neighbor or friend turn on the water and run the faucets at least once a month. This will help prevent sewer gas from entering the house while you are gone and can keep parts of plumbing fixtures from drying out or cracking. Also, have the friend flush toilets and run the dishwasher.

Water heater

Details: Why run up your electric bill heating water that you’re not going to be there to use?

Short term: Set the temperature on “vacation” mode. Most newer water heaters are equipped with such a setting. The water heater will run occasionally but not nearly as often as it does normally.

Long-term: Set on vacation mode. Linda Stanfield, owner of Benjamin Franklin the Punctual Plumber, recommends not turning it off while you’re gone, but instead flushing it out when you return. One way to do this is to run the water heater until it is empty and let it refill again.


Details: Toilets can collect bacteria, which can cause stains.

Short-term: Pour a half cup of chlorine into the bowl (not the tank).

Long-term: Do the same. Have a friend periodically flush the toilets while you are gone.


Details: A continually dark house, both inside and out, can be a signal to a burglar that no one is home.

Short-term: Turn off all lights except the ones you want as security measures. Put the security lights on variable timers.

Long-term: Do the above. Make sure your security lights are outfitted with CFL bulbs, which save on energy and are long-lasting.


Details: Don’t come home from your trip to a refrigerator filled with spoiled food.

Short-term: Throw out perishables such as milk that will expire while you’re gone.

Long-term: Clean out the refrigerator; either throw items away or give them to a neighbor. You have two choices. One is to unplug the refrigerator and leave the door open to prevent mildew, odor and mold. The other is to keep the refrigerator running. Don’t let it sit empty, however. Fill it with bottles of water so it will run more efficiently.

Pantry items

Details: Avoid having to call an exterminator after you return by leaving your kitchen and pantry clean.

Short-term: Throw away opened bags and boxes of food (or give to friends).

Long-term: Do the same. Also, check expiration dates of unopened items. Toss or donate unopened boxes of food (or, if you plan to keep them, put them in plastic bags to deter pests.)


Details: An untrimmed lawn can be a sign to burglars that you are away from home. Depending on how it looks, it also can be considered blight.

Short-term: Mow your lawn and trim shortly before your trip.

Long-term: Arrange for a lawn service to take care of your landscaping while you are away.

Other considerations for any length of vacation

— Small appliances, computers, televisions: Unplug these items.

— Smoke detectors: Make sure they are in working condition.

— Security company: If you have one, notify the company that you will be gone.

— Disposer/drains: Run the disposer. Mix a half cup of vinegar with a cup of water and pour down.

— Newspaper: Put delivery on a vacation hold.

— Leaks: Check for water leaks before you leave. Feel the valves underneath faucets to make sure they aren’t moist. Get any leaks fixed.

— Mail: Contact the U.S. Postal Service to put your mail on hold. If you are going to be gone long term, arrange for your mail to be forwarded.

— Phone: Don’t leave a message that you are out of town.

— Car: If you park your car in the driveway normally and are leaving it while on an extended trip, arrange for a friend or relative to drive it so that it looks like it is being used (and so cobwebs don’t develop, a sure signal that no one is home).

— Banks/credit cards: If you plan to use your credit or debit cards while you’re out of town, specifically out of the country, notify your bank and credit-card company. Provide the dates you will be gone and where you are going. That way, they won’t be surprised — or put a hold on your card — when they see charges from abroad.

— Emergency contact: Leave your contact information with a friend or neighbor. Include the names and contact information for your plumber, electrician, yard service, pool service or other contact should a problem happen while you are away.

— Locks: Make sure all your windows are shut and doors are locked before you leave.

Greening Up Your Home

If you’ve been thinking about making your home more “green” but haven’t done so because you’re afraid it will be too expensive, or that you’ll have to sacrifice too much, you may be surprised it can actually just take some simple changes. There are many ways you can “go green” at home, you can buy natural foods from local markets, you can recycle more, you can replace harsh chemical cleaners with natural solutions. Perhaps the easiest and most effective way, is to change your habits when it comes to utility use. Here are a few simple tips on how to cut back on utility use and waste.

“Water Consumption”- Water consumption is probably one of the most common problems because we often times don’t realize we’re being wasteful. Letting the water run while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing the dishes is actually wasting water. A simple solution is to only turn the water on when you need to rinse out the sink, rinse off your toothbrush or razor, or rinse off the dish. And if you want to be super-green you can brush your teeth, shave, and wash the dishes at the same time……just kidding.

“Doing Laundry”- When it comes time to do laundry, make sure you have an adequate load to put in, hold off on doing a smaller load or find things to add to it. Also, using cold or lukewarm water can cut back on energy used to heat the water.

“Electricity”- A very simple rule to have is, “if you’re not in the room, the light doesn’t need to be on”. This rule can also apply to anything from t.v.’s, fans, radio, etc.. A few other ways you can save on energy use are, to replace your standard light bulbs with energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs, actually unplugging appliances and devices (even the t.v.) when they are not in use, or you can get a smart power strip which will power these devices down when not in use instead of leaving them on stand-by mode.

So you can actually go green in your home by simply being aware and using common sense. Not only will it help improve sustainability, but your bank account as well.