Paw-Fect! Energy efficiency tips for your pets
Photo by Isaac Davis on Unsplash
You don’t have to choose between your pet’s comfort and efficiency. CUB staffers’ pets will show you how.
Originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of The CUB VOICE: A Publication of the Citizens Utility Board
Program your thermostat
Don’t be afraid to set your thermostat a little higher (78 degrees) in the summer while you’re away from home. Dogs and cats have ways of dealing with warm temperatures that humans don’t, like panting. Double check with your vet to see what temperature range is best for your breed or species.
Stabilize the temperature
Place your pet beds, cages, and aquariums in areas not subject to big temperature swings, away from vents and direct sunlight. Short-snout dog breeds like bulldogs and short-faced cats like Persians are more likely to get heat-stroke. Small pets like bunnies and reptiles are more vulnerable to extreme temperatures. Give them plenty of water, provide shade, and make sure to turn off any supplemental heating.
Wash fabrics in cold water
Wash your pet’s blanket of bedding in cold water. The fabric will get just as clean an you’ll use up to 90 percent less energy.
Maintain your AC system
A build-up of pet hair could for your cooling equipment to work harder, leading to high utility bills and more wear and tear. Change your air filter regularly, and brush and bathe your pet more often.
Shut off your fans
Animals don’t sweat, and their fur coats might prevent them from feeling the breeze produced by your fan. So running the fan when you aren’t at home will just add unnecessary kilowatt-hours to your electric bill. Instead, provide cool areas to rest such as a tile floor with a wet towel to lie on.
Tighten pet doors
If your doggie door is not air tight, it can suck conditioned air right out of your home, along with your hard-earned money. Caulk the frame of the pet door to seal it and prevent air leaks, and apply magnets to the flaps to secure them in a high wind. Another possible option is to upgrade your pet door to a new, more energy efficient model.
Turn out the lights
Most pets rely on natural light for their internal schedules and don’t need artificial light. Lights with motion sensors will pick up animal motion so these lights won’t work as well for you, especially if you have an active cat or dog.
Put pets on a schedule
Some exotic pets — like reptiles, amphibians, fish and some birds — do require additional lighting. Big a timer from a hardware or pet store to keep your reptile on its optimal schedule and manage energy costs. Energy-efficient pet bulbs can be found at pet stores and online.
Don’t run the tap
Some cats may be finicky about drinking from a bowl, but a running tap can cost serious money. So a cat fountain is a great way to encourage them to stay hydrated. A gravity-run drinking fountain can provide the fresh running water your pet likes without the energy suck of a pump-powered fountain or the cost of a dripping sink.
Turn off the tube
Leaving televisions and radios on when you’re not home will only confuse your pets and prevent them from napping. Toys and bones are much better entertainment, and they won’t cost a dime on your power bill.
Recycle your aquarium water
When you clean your fish tank, remove only one-third or one-half of the water and use it to water indoor and outdoor plants. Pumps and filters with lower power consumption will cut down on the amount of energy you use.
Treat sunny windows
The sun’s glare can affect the indoor temperature in your home, leading your cooling system to switch on more frequently. Consider treating your windows with solar film, or close most of the blinds and drapes to filter the light that can increase indoor temperatures.
For more information, visit the Alliance to Save Energy’s website, or the U.S. Department of Energy.