San Diego is known for its great, warm weather, but August is our hottest month and it can get a bit, well, too great. ILACSD has always been a big believer in saving energy, and we’ve been working with SDGE to get the word out! I can’t help you if you chose to tromp around outside for a hike or a surf (or a cleanup!), but here are some tips for staying cool at home while keeping your energy costs low.
Be a fan of fans! Use a ceiling or portable fan instead of A/C.
Beware of vampire energy drain! Power down equipment. Unplug TV, Cable, DVD or gaming devices when idle or use a smart power strip.
Change filters regularly. Make sure the filter in your central A/C is clean to help it run more efficiently.
Install weather stripping. Keep cool air in with weather stripping on doors/windows.
Lucky owner of a pool or spa? Use a cover. Covers can reduce heat loss by up to 90%.
Switch off and replace. Turn lights off when you leave a room and replace regular bulbs with CFLs. (The new CFLs have way better lighting quality and won’t make you look like you’re in a dentist’s office).
Filter pools and spas in the early morning or after the sun goes down. Hey, it’s cooler then anyway- win win!
Install window coverings. Install shade trees, awnings or blinds over brightest windows. This is a great excuse to buy those flamingo print curtains you’ve always wanted.
Set your A/C to 78°F between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., and turn it off if you’re not home and don’t have pets.
Got pets? All that fur (well, maybe not for you reptile and fish owners out there) can really overheat those guys. Keep them safe and happy with these tips.
Never ever leave a pet in the car. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees.
Limit exercise on hot days. Try and stick with the morning and evenings. Watch out for hot asphalt that can burn paws. Also, sunblock isn’t just for your nose- pets with pink noses can get sunburned, so rub a little on them, too!
Provide ample shade and water. Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat- in fact, it makes it worse.
Don’t rely on a fan. Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet, who knew?) And fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people.
Cool your pet inside and out. Whip up a batch of quick and easy DIY peanut butter popsicles for dogs. (You can use peanut butter or another favorite food.)
Cat owner? When it gets really hot, here’s my personal tip: sometimes it can help to get a damp washcloth and rub the cat down- this will help the heat evaporate and help your cat be “feline” fine in no time!