Keeping your home cool and comfortable in the summer can be expensive, considering the escalating price of energy. Here are some suggestions to help keep your cooling budget from overheating.
- Don’t place a heat-generating lamp or television near the thermostat for a central air system; it makes the unit run longer. Also, keep lights turned off unless they’re needed.
- Operate heat-generating appliances such as the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer in the early morning or late evening when the weather is typically cooler. Also, consider washing your laundry in cold water instead of hot.
- Make sure doors and windows are tightly closed, and block out daytime sun with window shades or draperies. On the other hand, open windows on cool days and evenings.
- Stop air leaks by caulking and weather-stripping all seams, cracks and openings to the outside of your home. This can save 10 percent or more on your energy bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy and The Alliance to Save Energy.
- Reduce the load on your cooling appliances by setting the thermostat of a central air system higher. If you use window air conditioning units, turn them off if you leave your house for several hours.
- Because moving air feels cooler than still air, use a ceiling fan to provide better circulation. You can then raise the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees without feeling any warmer.
- Clean or replace air filters on your central air conditioning system or window unit at least once a month. Dirty air filters have to work much harder to move the air.
- Plant a tree or shrubbery to provide shade for your house. You can expect a return on the investment in less than eight years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Window awnings significantly reduce heat exposure in the summer, too.