Top Tips to Reduce Summer Energy Bills

Person changing the temperature on a thermostat

When the dog days of summer meander in, it can get sweltering in both the city and the country. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Dog Days of Summer run from July 3 through August 11, coinciding with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. Without question, those are some of the warmest days of the year, requiring your home’s a/c to run overtime to keep things cool and to keep the occupants comfortable.

You can help reduce summer energy bills during the hottest days of the year with a few simple tips.

  1. Choose a higher thermostat temp: A consistent 78 degrees is the suggested temp if you want to conserve energy during the summer. If you have others in your space who prefer it cooler, put additional fans in their area. If you are going to be gone for extended periods and are not leaving pets in the space, move the thermostat higher for the duration of your absence.
  2.  Cover your windows: Keep your blinds closed and your shades drawn during the hottest part of the day. You may even want to consider reflective or room-darkening curtains to keep the sun from baking your home.
  3. Cook outside:  It doesn’t take long for a stove or oven to heat up the home. Every chance you get, grill outside or make dinners ahead of time for microwaving. It’s also a great time of year for chilled soups and fresh salads.
  4. Change the filters: Increasing your a/c efficiency keeps things cooler and extends the life of your unit. Check it monthly and change it if in doubt.
  5. Close off rooms: If you have rooms in a house that are not occupied or don’t have items that require a consistent heated/cooled temp, then close the vents. The same goes for fans that may be in running in rooms with no occupants. Turn them off and save energy.

It sometime feels hard to stay cool during the hottest months of the year, but with a little planning you can cut the energy costs. Stay cool! And if you need help making a move during these hot Summer days, give Zippy Shell a call or go online for a free quote today!

How to Save Money Back to School Shopping

As summer is coming to a close, we are approaching the start of another school year. Prepare yourself and your children for their upcoming school year by getting a head start on back-to-school shopping. Check out some of our tips below to save some money while you shop! 

Tax-free week

Many states have tax free weeks throughout August to help families when they are doing their back-to-school shopping. Take advantage of this opportunity to buy all your school supplies and back-to-school clothing during these weeks. See if your state holds a tax-free week here and take advantage of this opportunity to stock up!

Use leftovers

Many kids do not realize that a lot of their old supplies from previous years are still in good shape and can be used again. Children will use half of a notebook and then believe that is it no longer of value. Go through their old material and see if they have anything salvageable. Recycle old paper that is written on, while taking advantage of the blank sheets that have yet to be used. You can also re-sharpen old pencils to make them good as new.

Shop without the kids

When your children go school supply shopping with you, there is a much higher chance that you’ll buy unnecessary items. When you shop by yourself, you can make sure you stick to your list and only buy the essentials. Sure, you can purchase a few fun items for the kids to enjoy, while avoiding overspending in this category.

Look for coupons

Don’t forget how valuable coupons may be when shopping! Almost every back-to-school store offers coupons for school supplies, so keep your eyes peeled as you begin your back-to-school shopping. Be sure to shop smart when using coupons. Focus on the items you need to buy, not the brand or style of the item. A lot of times, coupons will be offered for the less flashy supplies, so capitalize on these opportunities to save yourself even more money!

Shop clearance aisles and dollar stores in your area

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on your school supplies. Shop clearance isles and dollar stores and get the exact same quality of items for less.  

Start early

When you get a head start on your back-to-school shopping, you’ll be able to take advantage of various sales throughout the season. Keep an eye on circulars and sales to get the best deals leading up to the start of school!

5 Easy Ways to Save Money When Traveling

Traveling to new places can be fun and exciting but the expenses themselves can quickly rack up. Some costs are going to be unavoidable, but you can lower your total price if you use some of these strategies!

Be truthful to yourself when booking a room

When booking a room, you will quickly learn that there are many options to choose from. Most hotels offer countless amenities that seldom get used. Consider what resources you will actually need during your stay. If you are barely going to be in your room all day, consider opting for a smaller room with a less-impressive view. Also, decide if you are going to be using your hotel’s pool or gym. If you are not, try finding a hotel that does not offer one, which may lower the price of your room overall.

Take advantage of your hotel’s amenities

Your hotel will most likely offer a complimentary breakfast, so check to see if they are serving one. On top of that, try out the coffee in your room to save yourself the time and money it would take to go out and buy a fresh cup of coffee at a café. “Dining in” will allow yourself to get fueled up early in the morning and have more time to explore where you are traveling. If you have leftovers from any of your meals, keep them in your room’s refrigerator to use as a “free” snack later.

Book at a central location

If you are going to be sightseeing around the city, consider booking your hotel in a central area of town. This should place you within walking distance of more places. See if there is a subway, bus route, or if your hotel has a shuttle as a cheaper alternative to calling multiple taxis.

Check for free activities

There is almost always going to be a free activity in the area that you are traveling to. If it seems there isn’t, consider merely going on a stroll through the new area you are exploring and take in some of the sights and views it has to offer. Often, cities will offer free outdoor movie showings, museums, fireworks, and so much more, so make sure you search to see if any activities are going on where you are traveling and what days they are available.

BYOS (Bring Your Own Snacks)

If you are planning a long day of exploring the city, make sure to bring snacks with you. This is even more important if you are traveling with children. Having snacks with you will quickly add up savings from not having to buy vendors’ snacks. This will also help you make it through the day with three solid meals versus having to continuously purchase munchies along the way. Pack waters with you as well to stay hydrated and avoid overpaying for a single bottle of water.

5 Simple Ways to Save Water in the Summer

old fashioned water pump

In the high heat of the summer, water can become a luxury, and it is tempting to overuse it when we have so much access to it. Use these tips to help save your wallet as well as the environment this summer.

  1. Be precise with your watering

When watering your yard or plants, water them when the sun is not strong, such as in the morning or the evening. This will prevent water loss from evaporation. If using an automatic sprinkler system, make sure you are only watering your yard and not the sidewalk or driveway to avoid wasting water.

2. Check for leaks

Leaks can cause gallons of water to be wasted if you don’t catch them. Test to make sure your toilet isn’t leaking by putting a drop of food coloring into the tank, then see if color appears in the bowl. If it does, there is a leak. Double-check that none of your sinks are leaking from the pipes below them onto the cabinets or floor too. These are leaks that can be easily fixed if you take five minutes to check.

3. Don’t hand wash

Washing anything by hand always ends up using more water than if you had used a larger water appliance. This applies to scenarios such as using your dishwasher or going to a car wash instead of hand washing your dishes or car.

4. Turn off wasted water

Make sure to turn off the faucet while you are brushing your teeth, even if you tell yourself this is just going to be a quick brush. The water will add up. On a larger scale, turn off the showerhead while you are soaping or shaving.

5. Use water buckets

In the shower you can collect runoff water that would otherwise be drained and put it to use in your home for activities such as watering your plants. Outside, you can also use a rain bucket to collect rain water. This can also be used to water your plants and prevent runoff from polluting our local rivers.

8 Tips to Save Water in Your Home

Save money and energy by limiting your water consumption, all while helping out the environment!

  1. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth.

It may not seem like a long period of time for the water to be running while brushing your teeth, but if you continue to have it running every time you brush your teeth, this adds up to a lot of wasted water.

  1. Defrost naturally

Defrost your frozen items by moving them into your fridge or let them sit out for a couple hours to naturally defrost instead of running them under water.

  1. Don’t use your toilet as a trashcan

It can be tempting sometimes to just throw your trash into the toilet and flush it.  This is a huge waste of water as well as unsafe for where the trash will end up after being flushed.

  1. Limit your shower time

Every once in a while everyone needs a long relaxing shower, but often try to limit the time you spend in the shower.

  1. Reuse leftover drinking water

Instead of dumping out the last little bit of water left in your cups after a meal, put all of the water into a pitcher.  Use this leftover water to water your plants or boil it next time you are cooking.

  1. Use your dishwasher when you can

If you don’t have to hand-wash your dishes, don’t.  Dishwashers use significantly less water by washing multiple dishes at once.

  1. Compost

Instead of using your garbage disposal, try composting your trash.  This limits the water used to flush your food down the drain.

  1. Strategically time when you water your lawn

Try to water your lawn when it is cooler outside, so in the morning or evening.  This will prevent water loss due to evaporation.  Also, don’t water your lawn when it is windy out so you don’t lose water from it being blown away.