As the hot days approach we’re all trying to reduce our cooling costs without sacrificing comfort. But it’s also important to not put too much pressure on the electricity grid this summer as the temperature starts to heat up (remember the summer blackouts?). Follow these easy tips and watch your energy bills drop:
- Set your programmable thermostat for efficiency: Invest in a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have a one. Once installed, program setback periods when the house is empty during the day and while everyone is asleep at night. This tactic reduces cooling costs by up to 10 percent.
- Turn on the ceiling fan: The resulting wind chill effect makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler, letting you turn up the thermostat without feeling less comfortable. You save about 1 percent on your cooling bills for every degree you raise the temperature.
- Insulate and seal the attic floor: Hire a professional HVAC contractor to seal the attic floor and add a layer of insulation to help trap cool air inside your home.
- Proper ductwork: Leaky ducts waste an average of 20 percent of the cool air passing through them. Have a professional seal duct leaks and wrap spans of ductwork running through unconditioned spaces with approved insulation.
- Reduce interior heat gain: Avoid doing laundry, baking or running the dishwasher in the heat of midday. Try to postpone these things until the cooler hours of the day of at all possible. Another alternative might be to hang your clothes to dry and do your dishes by hand.
- Turn on exhaust fans: Cooking and showering introduces heat and humidity to the interior. Pull hot, humid air outside by running the exhaust fan while you shower and the range hood while you cook.
- Draw the curtains: Keep south-facing windows covered all day and close the curtains over west-facing windows in the late afternoon. Restricting heat from the sun is a great way to reduce cooling costs.
- Invest in high-efficiency air conditioning: Choose an A/C model that is Energy Star certified for up to 15 percent more efficient cooling than standard models deliver.
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