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Cut Costs & Stay Cool This Summer

Jun. 30, 2011

As electricity prices are expected to rise along with hot summer temps, it’s causing many to look for ways to cut back on expenses. Beat the heat this summer, reduce your air conditioning (a/c) usage, while still enjoying savings with these simple tips.

One easy tip is to seasonally adjust your drapes, blinds or curtains. By closing your blinds or drapes on east or west facing windows, you can keep the sun’s direct rays from entering your home. This helps reduce the amount of effort your air conditioner puts forth to keep your home cool. In the evening, open the drapes, blinds or curtains to allow the heat to escape back out through the windows of your home.

Another simple task is to shade your outdoor air conditioning unit. The ideal location for your air conditioner is on the north side of your home, however, this is not always feasible. Landscaping such as trees or shrubs can provide shade, keep the direct sun off of your house, while making your yard look nice. Just keep in mind your air conditioner needs to have at least 2 feet clearance around and above for proper air circulation. Also, you need to maintain access to your outdoor unit for maintenance and repair.

During the summer when your system is running more frequently it’s especially important to be diligent about checking and changing your filter. Changing or cleaning your air conditioning filter on a regular basis increases system efficiency and helps lower your utility costs. Conversely, a dirty filter lowers the efficiency of your cooling system, increases your utility costs, while making your system run harder and longer.

An air conditioning tune-up can help you save money this summer. A tune-up ensures that your system is running efficiently and safely, while saving you money and giving you peace of mind. Air conditioners at peak efficiency will use up to 20% less electricity and last years longer. In most cases, the savings you get in lower utility costs more than makes up for the cost of the tune-up.

Using fans around your home is another way to help cool your home while reducing a/c usage. Fans help move cool air and ease your air conditioners workload. In some cases fans provide enough cool air so that you can turn your air conditioner above 78 degrees, saving a great deal of energy.

Also, don’t forget to use an exhaust fan when cooking; this helps expel hot air from the house. If you don’t have an exhaust fan, you can cool the room by using a floor fan. This will not only cool the air but also help move it out of the kitchen.

As they say, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” A dehumidifier rids your home of humidity while helping your family feel more comfortable. A dehumidifier may even allow you to feel more comfortable at a higher thermostat setting (like 78 degrees), helping to reduce your energy usage.

And lastly, if you can, leave chores like cooking, washing (or drying) clothes, and dishwashing for the cooler parts of the day. They generate extra heat in your home. Also taking on labor-intensive tasks during the hottest times of the day will make you feel uncomfortable. If possible, do them in the early morning or evening when the heat isn’t as bad.

By following a few simple tips you can decrease your air conditioning usage, reduce your energy usage, cut your costs, and still stay cool this summer.


Sources:
www.energystar.gov
www.saveenergy.about.com
www.weathermasterhvac.com
 

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