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Cooling

  • Make sure your house is properly insulated, weatherstrip all windows and doors and seal and caulk all air leaks.
  • Limit the use of household appliances that emit heat.
  • Set your central air conditioning thermostat for 78 degrees in the summer when you are not at home and re-adjust the temperature when you return. Set the temperature at 85 degrees or higher, or turn your cooling system off when you are away from home for long periods of time. You can save as much as $100 a year on cooling costs.
  • For every two degrees you increase your thermostat, you will save up to 5 percent on your air conditioning costs.
  • Installation and use of a programmable thermostat can help manage your cooling costs by running the system only when you expect to be at home.
  • Keep windows closed during the heat of the day, and draw blinds and draperies during the day to keep the heat out.
  • Change your air filter regularly. An air conditioning unit with dirty filters can use 5 – 10% more energy than necessary.
  • Instead of an air conditioner, use a window fan, ceiling fan or whole-house fan, which use much less power, and save more than $5 a month.
  • Consider purchasing a new air conditioner. Today's best air conditioners use 30 – 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as those made in the mid 1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you can save 20 – 40% by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.
  • Window air conditioners are designed to cool one room only. Use the right sized unit. A larger-than-needed air conditioner will not provide the best cooling. In fact, running a smaller unit for a longer time will use less energy to cool a room than running a larger unit for a shorter time. A rule of thumb is about 20 BTUs for each square foot of room.
  • Shade the outdoor air conditioning unit if possible. A unit in the sun will use up to 5 percent more energy than one in the shade.