SummerWe are in the summer months and will try to stay cool. Here are a few things that you can do around your home to reduce energy costs.
- Human comfort range is between 72 and 78 degrees F. Raising the thermostat also significantly lowers the cooling bill. A good starting point is 78º. Every degree the thermostat is set below 78º adds about 7 percent to the cooling bill. At 72º, the cost is about 42 percent higher than at 78º. If higher thermostat settings are uncomfortable, you can make your living area feel several degrees cooler by using a fan to circulate conditioned air.
- As an alternative to air conditioners, consider using ceiling, table or whole-house fans, which use much less power--about the same amount of
- energy as a 100-watt light bulb. Use fans to increase comfort levels at higher air conditioning thermostat settings (78 degrees minimum). Ceiling fans permit raising the thermostat setting on an air conditioning system 4 to 6 degrees.
- Shut off your air conditioner and leave the windows closed when you’re not going to be home for an extended period of time.
- Don't overlook the value of landscaping in summer energy savings. About 60 percent of the heat entering a home in the summer is through the roof. Provide shade to the roof, walls and driveways to reduce heat absorption and save energy and money.
- Take advantage of windows in the spring for fresh air and natural ventilation. In the summer, keep the drapes drawn to reduce radiant heat from the sun. Ventilation is especially important to reduce summer energy costs. Make sure attics are properly ventilated.
- Caulking and weatherstripping around doors and windows saves in both hot and cold weather.
- Change air conditioner filters regularly. Insulate air conditioner ducts that are exposed in the attic or in other areas.
- If you buy new appliances, look for energy saving features. Check the energy guide on appliances for energy consumption.
- Try not to use a dehumidifier at the same time your air conditioner is operating. The dehumidifier will increase the cooling load and force the air conditioner to work harder.
- Buy a high-efficiency air conditioner: for room air conditioners, the energy efficiency ratio (EER) rating should be above 10; for central air conditioners, look for a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating above 12.
- Close your blinds, shades or draperies during the hottest part of the day. Install white window shades or mini-blinds. Mini-blinds can reduce solar heat gain by 40-50 percent.
- If you're building a new home or adding to an existing structure, match the equipment to the heating and cooling load as nearly as possible. Oversized equipment wastes energy. But keep in mind that while a window cooling unit works well for a small area, a central unit may be more economical for larger areas in the long run.
- Install awnings on south-facing windows, where there’s insufficient roof overhang or vegetation to provide shade.Hang tightly woven screens or bamboo shades outside the window during the summer to stop 60 to 80 percent of the sun’s heat from getting to the windows.
- Especially in well-insulated buildings, keeping windows closed during daylight hours and open at night can significantly reduce cooling costs.
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