As summer in the Las Vegas desert is starting to simmer down (literally), we tried various energy saving ideas to help keep our household electric bill down below the neighborhood average. Did we succeed? I’d say we did. After speaking with our neighbors, we discovered that our bill was half of theirs during the entirety of the summer months. Thanks to NV Energy, we also got to see our neighborhood averages, and where our house stood in those averages (below average). They even show you where you stand compared to where the house was the year before (when the previous owners were in the house), and I must admit: My husband and I did very well… though I did gripe and groan about the bill every month. Time to share secrets!
- Since we have a two-story house, I told my husband, “We need one fan upstairs on 24/7 to keep the air circulating, or else the heat is just going to sit, and the AC is going to be on the entire time.” So, we kept the fan in the loft on 24/7. Why the loft? Because it’s the room with more common area and the thermostat is in the same room.
- Close vents in any room not used on a daily basis. (We only had these closed in the guest bedroom and guest bathroom.)
- Close all doors when room(s) are not in use. This works better when you don’t have dogs who know how to open doors. (It’s like having a haunted house… “I swear I closed this door!” Syren knows how to pull the handle down to open the door, while Duke only knows how to paw the bottom of the door to open it all the way.)
- Invest in “black out” window curtains. Yes, they are about $10 per panel, but they really do work! We covered all EAST and WEST facing windows, and the difference is obvious already! (We’re working on the North and South windows.)
- Keep the thermostat at 80°F. I know that sounds ridiculously hot, but when the desert summer high is in the triple digits, 80 is a God sent. With the above four, our thermostat actually hovers around 77-79°F, even though the setting is for 80°F.
- Unplug all small appliances that are not in use. In the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the bedrooms… the only appliances I leave plugged in is in regards to my husband’s Man Cave (yes, he has one, but he is ready to surrender it when we have more than one kid.) and my computer. THOSE plugged in appliances are turned off when not in use. Never leave your computer or gaming console on at all times. (A) They do produce heat and (B) They cost more to replace if/when they overheat.
- Do laundry early in the morning or during the evening/night. Laundry, especially the dryer, produces a massive amount of heat. I started noticing that the second floor would heat up, and the AC would kick on every time the dryer was on during the day. During the evening/early morning, the AC only kicks on after every 2 cycles of the dryer, which is equivalent to 2 loads of laundry in our house. Perfect!
- Try not to use the oven during summer months. I started using my toaster oven, and I love being able to small batches of cookies, muffins, cupcakes, etc, and I’m able to cook meals faster. It’s pretty awesome!
- Run the dishwasher the same as laundry… early morning or at night. I run it in the middle of the night, while the whole house is asleep.
I wish I had a #10, but I honestly can’t think of anything else that we’ve done. Try the tips out and see how things go. If you have an energy saving tip, share! I’m always up to learn new things!