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In summer, home cooling can easily account for up to half of your energy costs. If your air conditioning equipment is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with ENERGY STAR® rated equipment — before it breaks down — to save money on utility bills and ensure your family’s comfort.

A high-efficiency air conditioner costs less to operate and its initial higher cost will be paid back many times over during its lifetime. Save money on the purchase price of air conditioning units by taking advantage of promotional rebates offered by equipment manufacturers, current tax credits and local utility company rebates.  For more information, visit www.energystar.gov and www.dsireusa.org.

Keep your cool, reduce your energy use, and save money by following these tips:

  • Don’t turn your air conditioning off when you leave the house. Heat build-up in the walls and furniture makes it harder for your system to remove the heat when you return. Instead, set the temperature up five to ten degrees, but not off.
  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer.  Only use your air conditioner when the temperature is above 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use an exhaust fan to blow hot air out of your kitchen while cooling.  You’ll save more in cooling costs than the electricity to run the fan.
  • Avoid activities that add heat and humidity to your home during the hottest parts of the day, such as:
  • Cook outside on the grill instead of using the oven whenever possible.
  • Run the dishwasher in the evening when the outside air is cooler.
  • Let dishes air dry in the dishwasher rather than using the drying feature.
  • Minimize the number of times that outside doors are opened and closed.  Hot air from outside enters your home every time the doors open.
  • Keep window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.
  • Plant shade trees to shade your home and block the sun’s heat. Shade your air conditioner, too. Direct sunshine on the heat exchanger decreases its efficiency. A well-placed tree or awning will shade and protect the unit.
  • Use ceiling fans to provide additional cooling and better air circulation.  Run the blades counter-clockwise (downward) to cool more efficiently.  Ceiling fans cool only people, not the room, so remember to turn ceiling fans off when you leave the room.
  • Keep shrubbery and flowers away from your central air conditioner’s outdoor heat exchanger. This restricts its ability to release warm air and lowers its efficiency.
May 30, 2013