By Kate Mitchell
Warm weather has arrived and with it comes all the joys of summer in Michigan. Spending time outside is both a great way to enjoy the season and manage your energy use. Play a lawn game, have a cookout or water balloon fight to make the most of the summer holidays and your electric use!
Start maximizing your energy savings this season with these tips:
- Make the most of your AC: Helping your air conditioner work less pays off! Ensure your central air conditioner has at least 2’ clear around for air flow. It’s also a great time to schedule an annual cleaning and checkup. A clean machine can improve efficiency 5-15%! For window air conditioners, replace filters and add window seals around your unit when installing. You can also get a rebate from DTE when you tune-up or replace your AC! Find out more at dteenergy.com/ac.
- Make your schedule work for you: Try to save heavy duty appliance use – like dishwashers, washers and dryers – for the evening hours when the outside air is cooler. Install a programmable thermostat and pre-cool your home before 3 p.m. so you can take advantage of lower, off-peak rates this summer.
- Cool off without AC: Use a ceiling fan with blades running counter-clockwise to feel cooler and open windows for cross breezes to get air moving in your home.
- Embrace cool cooking: Instead of the stove or oven, which can increase your home’s temperature by 30%, utilize the microwave, slow cooker or an outdoor grill when making breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Use the recipe below to embrace the rising temperatures without raising your electric bill and enjoy an energy efficient Michigan summer.
For a fun and unexpected cook-out dish, try grilling a pizza. Yes, you read that right!
- About 1 lb pizza dough (store bought or homemade)
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- Cheese like mozzarella, asiago or Parmesan
- Toppings of your choice – consider summer vegetables like zucchini and herbs like basil
- Olive oil
- Heat your grill to at least 550 degrees
- Stretch your dough into a thin circle
- Brush the one side of your dough with oil and lay the dough oil side down on the grill, letting it cook for about 4 minutes or until the dough is set.
- Flip your dough and top your pizza quickly – start with sauce, add cheese and toppings of your choice while not overloading it. You could even grill your vegetables before adding them to your pizza for extra flavor!
- Cook your pizza for about 4 minutes or until your cheese has melted and your crust has cooked.
For more tips on how to stay cool this summer, visit dteenergy.com/summer.
If higher temperatures have caused a spike in your energy bill and you are struggling to make your payment, contact the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to see if you meet the federal income guidelines to qualify for State Emergency Relief (SER). SER provides immediate help if you have a past due bill or disconnect notice. DHHS can be reached at 855.275.6424 or newmibridges.michigan.gov.