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Save Energy and Beat the Heat: Summer Energy Efficiency Tips for Mason 3 Customers

Created 7/8/2014 by Justin Holzgrove
Updated 7/9/2014 by Aaron Winer
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This article was submitted for use in July 2014 to The Journal, a weekly newspaper serving Shelton and Mason County Washington. Perhaps it will inspire you to share energy saving tips with your customers this summer?

Powerful Advice: Energy Insights from PUD 3


SAVE ENERGY AND BEAT THE HEAT

There aren’t many places I’d rather be than in Mason County in the summertime! Doesn’t it feel great to step outside and soak up the sun? Our lakes, rivers, and salt-water shorelines are teeming with activity and many refreshing opportunities to beat the heat.

The majority of Mason County residents use electricity in the winter to heat their homes. Summer has opportunities of its own to use energy more efficiently, enjoy the outdoors, and increase the comfort of your home. A few no-cost tips, low-cost lifestyle changes, and long-term investments can make summer more enjoyable and lower utility bills.

Hang the Laundry to Dry

In the summer months, take advantage of the abundant solar energy and hang laundry out to dry. Hopefully they'll smell like a field of cut grass and fresh flowers!

Give the Oven a Break

Small appliances such as microwaves, toaster ovens, and slow cookers use 50% - 80% less energy than an oven or range. If meal plans allow for it, using these devices will help reduce your energy bill. They will also help keep the home cooler in the summer. Fire up your BBQ grill and enjoy the outdoors!

Recycle your second refrigerator.

Have you been doing a little spring cleaning? Does your home have a second refrigerator in the garage; a beer or soda fridge? Chances are it’s is an older model refrigerator or freezer that uses three times more electricity than newer ENERGY STAR® models. If you have an older, working refrigerator, you can get $30 to have it recycled and decommissioned. Learn more about refrigerator and freezer decommissioning and recycling at www.masonpud3.org/refrigeratorrecycling. With that second refrigerator gone, you’ll be saving money each month on the home’s energy bill.

Turn down the water heater temperature.

An electric water heater can account for up to 25% of a home’s energy bill. The United States Department of Energy recommends setting a residential water heater to 120°F to reduce energy usage and to help prevent scalding. Each 10°F reduction in water temperature can save 3% - 5% on an energy bill. Save energy and help make your home safer by reducing the thermostat setting on your residential water heater. Learn more on PUD 3's water heating webpage at www.masonpud3.org/waterheating.

Use dryer balls.

Have you heard of "Dryer Balls"? They look like a dog's squeaky toy that you put in the dryer with your clothes. Manufacturers claim that they can save you money. They say when you add a dryer ball to your load of laundry it reduces the amount of time your dryer will run. PUD 3 did a little experiment to make sure you aren't getting hung out to dry! Watch the video at www.masonpud3.org/saveenergy to see how it turned out!

Add a ceiling fan.

Installing an ENERGY STAR® ceiling fan is a good way to keep the air circulating in a home. Be sure to reverse the fan direction in the winter to pull the warm air off the ceiling and disperse it throughout the room.

Plant a tree.

Carefully positioned trees can help save on a household's energy use for heating and cooling. A large deciduous (leaf-shedding) tree, planted in a strategic location, can save money in reduced cooling costs, yet still allow for winter sunshine to reduce heating and lighting costs.

Deciduous trees with high, spreading crowns (i.e., leaves and branches) can be planted to the south of your home to provide maximum summertime roof shading. Be careful not to plant evergreens too close to your home's south side if you want the warmth from the winter sun.

Trees with crowns lower to the ground are more appropriate on the west side of the house, where shade is needed from lower afternoon sun.

Don’t just focus on what to plant. Perhaps removing trees or limbs is the right solution for your home. This can make a large impact when considering the massive fir trees of Mason County. Learn more on PUD 3's tree web page at www.masonpud3.org/trees.

Upgrade your home with a Ductless Heating and Cooling System.

Ductless systems come standard with air conditioning for hot summer months. Kick that energy hogging A/C to the curb! A ductless heat pump’s air conditioning mode is especially helpful in manufactured homes, which can get very hot in warm weather. Learn more at www.masonpud3.org/ductless.

Upgrade your home’s insulation levels

Insulation acts as a barrier to slow heat transfer. Heat energy always wants to go from hot to cold; from warm areas to cooler areas. In Mason County, insulation is of great benefit in the winter when we want to keep our heat inside the home, but in the summer it also helps to keep heat outside the home, leaving your living environment nice and cool.

If you have an electrically heated home, PUD 3 may be able to help you increase inadequate levels of insulation. PUD 3 can also pay 100% of the project cost for qualifying low/moderate-income customers. Learn more at www.masonpud3.org/insulation.

We hope these tips will be helpful for you as you enjoy our beautiful Mason County summer. If you have further questions, or would like to schedule a free energy audit to discuss energy efficiency opportunities in your house, call the PUD 3 conservation department at (360) 426-0777, or visit us on the web at www.masonpud3.org/conservation.

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Comments (3)
Justin Holzgrove on 07/08/14 on 03:54 PM (Pacific Time)
I thought about using click-bait strategies with this article (and others like it) but it made me feel dirrrty.
I like to think I have more integrity than that!
; )
Ben Fowler on 07/08/14 on 04:04 PM (Pacific Time)
I love all the links to additional resources. Great way to quickly summarize tons of useful tips, and let people click away to their hearts content if they want more info. 
Aaron Winer on 07/09/14 on 10:54 AM (Pacific Time)
Really nice content and recommendations Justin! 

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