Keeping your home and budget cool

          With temperatures increasing almost daily, you may be tempted to turn up your AC unit. What you may not know is cooling costs account for at least 40% of the average summer electric bill. A few simple changes can pay for themselves with both a cooler home and a lower bill.

Start with your thermostat:

            Setting your AC unit at 70°F happens to cost twice as much as setting it at 78°F would. The comfortable temperature range for most people to keep their house at is between 74-78° and by setting the unit 2° above the normal for you will save you considerably while you won’t feel much of a difference. When leaving the house, don’t shut your unit off, it is actually less cost efficient having to re-cool your house down than it would be to set the temperature to 80°F when out and about. If you don’t already have a programmable system, you may want to consider investing in one because it will help you with the tasks above and will pay for itself in the savings you will see in your bill.

            Also changing the air filter on a monthly basis can save you up to 10% on your bill as it allows clean air to move freely throughout your home and the AC unit will not have to work as hard to push that air through the vents.

Fans, windows, and electrical devices:

            Ceiling fans use less energy than the AC unit, about as much as a 100 watt light bulb and it can make a room feel as much as 8° cooler than what it really is. In summer set your fan to rotate counterclockwise allowing it to push air downwards, creating a cool breeze. If you are using a box or stand fan be sure to turn it off when you leave the room or you will just be wasting the electricity.

            Keeping you windows closed and shades drawn in the daytime can help reduce costs up to 30%. Opening windows at night when the temperature is below 77°F give dual benefits. Not only does it let warm air out of the house, it also lets in fresh clean air. Replacing old out of date windows is another investment worth doing as it will help keep cooling costs down and will end up paying for themselves in savings.

            Turning any electrical devices such as the television, lights and computers, off when not in use will save energy because these types of devices tend to put off a lot of heat and will save on electricity as well. Closing vents in any unused rooms like guest rooms or shops, will also help keep those cooling costs down.

Landscaping and exterior helps:

            Deciduous trees strategically placed on the east and west sides of your home allow a breeze to pass through while creating shade to keep the hot sun off your home. If you have a small roof overhang, one that is not large enough to shade your windows, you may want to invest in awnings to keep the sun’s direct heat from blazing through your windows and heating up your home.

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