Beating the heat this summer is an expensive proposition as temperatures soar into the triple digits in some parts of the U.S. Here’s how to stay cool and keep electricity bills reasonable:
Fine-Tune Your Equipment
Keep it clean. Clean air filters monthly for central air and individual window or wall units. Dirt and dust hinder air flow, reducing efficiency.
Program the thermostat. Give the air conditioner a break during the work day. Shifting the settings to allow higher daytime temperatures could cut the average household s electric bill by $180 a year, according to Energy Star.
Hunt Down Heat Sources
Seal up the house. Cooled air can leak through cracks along window and door frames. Invest in some caulk and weather-stripping to plug up these drafts. A home that s properly insulated and sealed improves energy efficiency by up to 20% year-round, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. (Insulation materials are also eligible for the 30% energy efficiency federal tax credit, up to $1,500 for all improvements combined.)
Avoid chores. The hotter the space, the harder an air conditioner must work to keep things cool. Limit the use of heat-generating appliances such as the oven, dishwasher and clothes dryer during the daytime hours when temperatures are hottest, says Steve Rosenstock, manager of energy solutions for the Edison Electric Institute, an industry group. “That just makes more of a load for your air conditioner, he says.
Change light bulbs. Swapping incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents can cut a home electric bill, Kweller says. Switching one incandescent for a CFL saves $35 in energy costs over the projected 10-year life of the bulb. Not only do CFLs use less energy than conventional bulbs, but they also generate less heat.
Close the blinds. Rooms get hotter without shades or curtains to block the sunlight, especially with south- and west-facing windows. Put this idea to work more effectively with insulated window treatments.
Use fans. A breeze makes the room feel a few degrees cooler. Just be sure to turn it off when leaving. “Fans cool people, not rooms,” Kweller says.
Unplug. Gadgets like a cellphone chargers suck energy — and generate heat — as long as they’re attached to a power source. Standby power for appliances not in use typically accounts for 5% to 10% of residential electricity use, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Information in blog provided by smartmoney.com