That few extra degrees of warmth that summer brings to Maui makes a difference. Not only is staying cool a challenge, but water and energy bills can spike.
Here is the best advice from our property management pros to not only beat the heat, but also save on water and electric costs.
Save energy while saving water
This summer we’ve already seen one drought alert on the island. Here are a few ways to save water, and at the same time save on your electric bill.
- Repair any dripping faucets promptly
- Install water saving devices such as low-flow showerheads and aerators on faucets
- Shorten your showers by just two minutes from your normal duration- it makes a difference!
- Use the air-dry setting on your dishwasher
Save loads on laundry
Wash all loads in cold water. Thanks to the effectiveness of modern laundry detergents you no longer need to use hot water in order to get your clothes clean. Studies have found that washing your clothes in cold gets them just as clean as washing in hot. The electricity savings of washing in cold vs. hot is substantial.
You should also wash full loads (but not overfilled). Even though your washing machine may have different settings that will control the amount of water it uses, it will still use close to the same amount of energy regardless of how much your washing.
Part of the wisdom in not overfilling your washer is to not overfill your dryer. The dryer is designed to take care of a normal size load. If you have to run an extra cycle to fully dry a jumbo load, it will double the energy use. Also, clean the filter after each use to maintain efficiency.
If you live in a condo, you likely cannot line dry clothes outside, but a stylish, wall-mounted collapsible drying rack can fit just about anywhere indoors.
Be Kind to Your Refrigerator/Freezer
Your fridge will run more efficiently in hot weather if you avoid opening it too often. Your food will also stay fresher longer. Think through all the ingredients you need to pull out, then gather them back up to put away. Don’t set the temperature colder than necessary- between 36 F and 42 F is ideal. Set the freezer control between -5 F and +6 F. You can pick up a two pack of thermometers designed for your fridge and freezer at Target for about $8.
Many people ignore maintenance on their refrigerator until there is a problem. Regular cleaning, including dusting off the coils or filters and checking the rubber seals on the door will help the unit’s efficiency and may extend its lifespan.
When it comes time to buy a new fridge, make sure it has the ENERGY STAR® label to save on utility costs.
Update Your Water Heater
Your home’s largest energy consumer is your electric water heater. When you switch to more energy-efficient options, you can save up to 40% on your electric bill.
If you are a household of 3 or more people, installing a solar water heater is one of the best ways to save money on your electric bill. With Hawaii Energy’s rebate combined with state and federal tax credits, you can save nearly 70% on the system purchase price in the first year. Find a Participating Contractor and don’t forget to ask about Hawaii Energy’s $750 rebate.
If you are in a residential complex and unable to go solar, consider replacing a standard electric or gas model with an energy-efficient model. The heater should be set to 120 F.
If you are still using traditional incandescent bulbs, you are adding to the heat of your home and reducing energy efficiency. Plus, these types of bulbs are being phased out, so now is a good time to switch over to cool and efficient LEDs.
Keep Cool Wisely
According to research compiled by Healthline.com, getting overheated and suffering from even mild dehydration can cause bad moods, headaches and lack of concentration. So stay cool and drink plenty of water. When cooling with air conditioners, make sure all doors and windows are closed for greater operating efficiency. Use ceiling fans to circulate cold air, even while the AC is running.
No AC? Open windows or doors on opposite sides of your unit and place a fan to draw a cooling breeze in next to one, and a fan facing out on the opposite side to push warm air out on the other. Easy breezy!