How to Stay Cool when Temperatures are Hot

by Wade Barnes 16. July 2012

Average Baltimore TemperaturesSummer is officially upon us, and with it comes the heat and humidity we know all too well here in Baltimore.  Staying cool when the temperatures are hot can be a costly proposition, but there are a few tips we’d like to share so you don’t have to break the bank.

 

The basics... 

º Blow hot air: By having a fan simply move the air around the house, you’ll actually feel cooler.  Running ceiling fans counter-clockwise, especially in elevated levels in the house, creates an upward draft, bringing the cool air up to help better circulate the efforts of your air conditioner.    

º 78° Rule: We’ve all heard it before - 78° is the magic number.  By keeping your thermostat set at 78°, your home will be comfortable and you won’t overwork your air conditioning unit.    

º Close blinds: By keeping the sunlight out, the rooms won’t heat as quickly and the temperature will remain more stable. 

º Don’t cool unused space: While this may seem intuitive, if you have unused space, there’s no need to keep it at 78°.  Close the air ducts in unused rooms and gain efficiency and comfort in rooms you do use. 

º  Plant trees: Planting trees to help block the summer sun will not only keep the sunlight from coming in through the windows, it will also keep the exterior of your house cool, which means heat won’t penetrate through the walls.  As an added bonus, when autumn comes around, the leaves will fall which will allow the sun to once again brighten your day and heat the house during the winter.

 

The mechanics...

º Air filter: Perhaps the simplest and most inexpensive tip is to replace your air filter every three months.  Allowing air to flow freely will reduce the energy required to run your air conditioning system.  On top of that, the air you’ll breath will be clean, crisp, and refreshing.

º HVAC service: You should have your air conditioning system maintenance performed annually.  By sealing leaks, cleaning ducts, and checking refrigerant levels you can see significant improvements in efficiency and reduction in cost.

º Programmable thermostat: While the 78° rule still applies, if you’re not home during the day or if you can stand it a bit warmer at night, using a programmable thermostat can really impact the bottom line. 

º Consistency: While programmable thermostats are good because they create only slight variations in the temperature difference, turning the air conditioning on and off repetitively is not.  When your system is on, you’re not only cooling the air, you’re cooling the walls, ceilings, floors and everything in-between.  It takes a long time to cool all things solid but once they’re cool, they help keep the air cool too. 

 

The replacement…

If you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns with regards to your air conditioning unit, it might make sense to upgrade.  By installing an Energy Star system, you may qualify for Energy Star tax credits, and you’ll most certainly decrease the cost to cool your home during the summer.  If your system breaks unexpectedly or you need help financing this upgrade, consider using the equity in your home by obtaining a home equity loan or line of credit. 

For more energy saving tips, see Spring Forward with These 5 Energy Saving Tips.

If you’ve decided to beat the heat by getting out of town, be sure read Traveling Tips: keep the costs low and the fun level high.

Do Your Part to Help Save a Tree

by Wade Barnes 27. April 2012

If you happened to see a greater-than-usual number of people out planting trees this morning as you were driving to work, and you’re wondering why, we’re here to solve your mystery…today is National Arbor Day.

Whether you plan to plant a tree in honor of Arbor Day or not, we thought it might be useful to remind you of some easy ways you can help save trees and reduce the amount of paper clutter in all of our lives.

Here a few simple things you can do to save a tree:

Use Online Banking

Online banking is a great paperless solution to managing your bank accounts – all you need is a computer with internet access (such the one you’re using right now to read this article).

Pay Bills Using Electronic Bill Payments

Once enrolled in online banking, you can initiate payments using the bill payment service.  Using an electronic bill payment service is simple, and it reduces your need to order checks, not to mention the envelopes and stamps you save.

Transfer Money between Banks Using External Account Transfers

Using external account transfers, also known as account to account transfers, you can move money electronically between accounts at various financial institutions.

Sign Up for eStatements

eStatements are delivered electronically to your online banking mailbox.  Not only do eStatements save trees, they also save you the time and trouble of filing your paper statements.  With eStatements, 18 months of statements are automatically saved electronically for retention purposes, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of all your old statements.Mobile Banking Phones

Use Mobile Banking

With Mobile Banking you can see your account balances and transfer money between accounts on the go.  There’s no need to haul around a laptop, simply use your internet enabled phone to quickly access your bank.

 

In honor of the great White Oak (The official Maryland State Tree…but you knew that, right?), be sure to take advantage of ways to manage your finances without using unnecessary paper.

Ten Ways to Ease Your Pain at the Pump

by Wade Barnes 30. March 2012

Average Price per Gallon of Gas on the East Coast

 

Gas prices are on the rise yet again, though you probably don’t need us to tell you that because you probably already felt the pain the last time you were at the pump.  Since there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight and buying a new electric car might not be in the picture, we thought we would share some tips to help you conserve gas and save a little extra money.

♦ Plan trips.  It might seem simple, but by combining errands you can save wasted trips.  Similarly, traveling at less congested times will help limit the amount of gas wasted while sitting in traffic.

Don’t speed.  While this is probably a good overall tip, traveling in excess of 55 miles per hour significantly increases the average car’s gas consumption.

Don’t accelerate too quickly.  Agreed, it’s fun to be the fastest car off the line when the light turns green, but the quicker you accelerate, the quicker your car consumes gas.  Not to mention this might also be dangerous behavior which the police tend to frown upon.

Use cruise control.  Just like accelerating too quickly uses gas at a quicker rate, so does accelerating frequently.  If you can keep a constant speed, you’ll use less gas once the car is in motion.

Remove excess weight.  It’s estimated that an additional 100 pounds decreases your fuel efficiency by 2%.  So, if you can’t ditch your passengers, at least be sure you don’t have excess baggage that you’re toting around.

Have proper tire pressure.  Underinflated tires cause your car to burn more gas.  Be sure your tires are inflated to the recommended pressure.

Change your oil.  A well-oiled machine will run efficiently - it really is that simple.  Be sure all general maintenance on your car is up to date.

Wait to refill.  It may seem counterintuitive as prices keep going up, but gas is heavy, and the extra weight decreases your fuel efficiency – see number 5.

Close your windows.  There’s no better way to enjoy a beautiful spring day than to have your windows down and music up but the truth of it is that open windows makes it more difficult to propel you car forward, thereby requiring more fuel.

Buy gas when it's cool outside.  Gas is sold by volume, which is why we pay per gallon.  Gas, however, is most dense when it is cooler, and denser gas will get you a higher combustion rate which means more bang for your buck (pun intended).  For more information on this tip, consult a scientist, but for those looking for a simple gas tip, just go with it and buy gas in the morning or once the sun has set.

So the next time you find yourself doing 70 miles per hour down the highway with your windows down and golf clubs that you haven’t used for weeks in the trunk, remind yourself of these simple ways to make a gallon of gas last a little bit longer.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Spring Forward With These 5 Energy Saving Tips

How to Stay Cool When Temperatures are Hot

Traveling Tips: keep the costs low and the fun level high



© 2008- 1st Mariner Bank