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Those Summer Utility Bills

It is almost summer and we have had the weather to prove it!  Operation keep the house cool has been in full effect!  You see, we are not big air condition users.  I love fresh air.  Windows open, the sound of children playing, the joy in the noise of summer.  But with summer can come a higher utility bill.  This is the reason my husband does not like the Air Conditioner.  It is expensive.  So in an effort to live comfortably and keep the budget in the green I have two quick tried and true tips.


Save Money in the Laundry Room

Does your dishwasher or clothes-washer have a timer on it? Use it!  Each night after dinner I load the clothes washer up with the day's dirty clothes, add detergent and liquid softner and set the Delay Timer so that it will turn on at about 4am.  One of the reasons I don't start it right away? Often times utilities (like electricity or water) cost less at night when the demand is less.



Same idea for the dishwasher: Our dinner dishes are loaded and the Delay set for six-hours.   The added bonus is we can add evening snack dishes, our evening wine glasses, or toddler-cups dispersed about the house before we go to bed.  By not running it immediatly I insure we have full load which is a more efficient use of energy as well.


The next step to keeping a comfortable house in the summer is hanging the laundry on a drying rack.  The less I have to use my dryer in the summer time the happier I am.  Each morning when I get up (if the weather is copperating) I pull out my drying rack and load it with our newly cleaned clothes.  I set it on our deck and after a few short hours I have dry clothes which used nothing but wind and solar energy.  It feels good to live green, and the wallet appreciates it, too.



Keep the Sun Out

Clothes curtains on the east side of the house in the morning and the west side of the house in the evening.    I love getting up in the morning and throwing open the curtains to say Good Morning world! However, my kitchen and family room have large east facing windows.  So before it gets hot I close those curtains back up to deflect some of that heat.  In the bedrooms I have light-blocking curtains as well that deflect more sun and heat than regular curtains.  Look for sales.  I got our light-blocking curtains at Target on sale a few years ago and I'm sure the cost savings in energy has already paid for them.  I know it has been well worth it in terms of comfortable living.



Get out of the kitchen (or at least keep the oven off)

One last tip, use the outdoor grill instead of the oven or if you don't feel like firing up the grill pull out your foreman grill or use your toaster oven.  These are all options that use much less energy and create much less heat than your oven.   My toaster oven has proven especially useful when I'm making french fries or chicken nuggets for young ones.  I am not usually making much, just enough to serve lunch for a preschooler and toddler.  So the toaster oven is a perfect quick and cooler (than a hot 450 degree oven) option.



What are some ways you encourage comfortable living in the summer?  Summer weather is my favorite and with a little planning and scheduling the house can be comfortable inside and out!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com



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