One of the beloved traditions of summer is spending family time outside in the yard. Kids enjoying the backyard pool, running through the sprinkler (or maybe a Slip ‘n Slide), having a barbecue picnic or just spending time on the porch with a drink… These are all timeless social activities that bring families and friends closer together.
They are also opportunities to waste a good amount of electricity and water. Built-in swimming pools can use up a lot of both resources, while outside lights and electrical outlet use can eat up hours of power. Being smart about the resources used while enjoying the warmer temperatures will help curb those high summer utility bills – and allow for everyone to celebrate the summer with peace of mind.
Interstate has put together a short list of energy-saving tips for those lazy days (and nights) in the yard.
Kiddie Pool Water gets dirty pretty quickly and most parents will simply drain the water after it begins to cloud. Before you let all the water out, consider using it to water your plants and lawn. Using a watering can or bucket you can be strategic about where the water goes – instead of dumping it into the lawn (where most of the water will be wasted). If you decide that your lawn needs the water more than your plants, release the pool water in the evening when the water is less likely to evaporate. And make sure that you use the water in areas where the lawn needs it the most.
A Built-In Pool can use up a lot of resources in the heat of the summer. If you are fortunate enough to own a pool (adult size), you are aware of the high cost of maintenance and day-to-day upkeep. Make sure that you keep an eye on the foundation and repair cracks or small holes before they cause bigger problems. Leaks in pools are a major cause of water waste – and can eventually create even greater (and costly) repair problems down the line. Evaporation in the summer is also a huge problem, but this can be helped by simply getting a pool cover. You can reduce evaporation by as much as 98 percent by covering the pool when not in use. Energy and chemical consumption can also be reduced by up to 50 percent when you use a cover.
Porch and Tree Lights aren’t on quite as long in the summer as the sun sets much later in the evening. But when barbecues and pool parties go on into the night, a great deal of energy can be used – in addition to the lights still on inside your home. Consider replacing all of your outdoor lights with energy-efficient bulbs such as halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LEDS. These modern bulbs use as much as 25 – 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescents. Also consider installing ground solar lights throughout your front and back yard for extra illumination.
Electric or Charcoal-Fueled Barbecue Grills waste resources and are bad for the environment. Consider investing in a solar grill or a portable solar oven. These energy-efficient designs are relatively new to the market, and cost a bit more than traditional cookers, but the energy-savings will make up the difference over time. Solar powered cookers are available at most hardware and department stores – and are even cheaper on several online outlets.
Backyard and Front Yard Porches have become a design of the past. It’s rare for homes to have large attached areas in the front and back for people to sit and socialize. If your home doesn’t have an enclosed porch, you might consider adding awnings over the back door and windows. Awnings will not only help keep your home interior cool, a large backdoor awning can add a shady area for people to sit under during a backyard party. There are a variety of designs – from the simple to the complicated that can be installed in a day. In addition to energy-savings, awnings can also add a pleasant visual touch to your home exterior.
Using Electronics While Outside is an essential component to summer relaxation. While having music by the pool has always been part of the fun, smart phones and tablets are now part of everyday life. And while it would be great if everyone left their technology inside and actually interacted with each other, the reality is people cling to their devices. First off, make it a rule that the kids leave their electronics inside during a backyard function. When the activity revolves around water, it’s not safe for them to be around electronics anyway. Second, investing in an old-school radio with batteries will alleviate the need for people to use their gadgets to play music. Also, imposing a “no-gadget rule” might be difficult at a party, but it’s worth a try. This would alleviate the need for people to plug in their gadgets to power the batteries – and keep their attention from videos or other internet distractions.
Interstate Heating & Air Conditioning wishes everyone a safe, energy-efficient summer. Remember to keep the inside of your home energy-efficient as well, which includes maintaining your HVAC system for optimum use. Call us at 405-794-8900 (once you’re back inside) if your A/C isn’t cooling properly – or needs a yearly tune-up!
*Photo courtesy of Wikimedia
For information or assistance with HVAC efficiency, give Interstate Heating & Air Conditioning a call at 405-794-8900.
Don’t forget to schedule your air conditioning tune-up for summer! Schedule service online or give us a call!