Heidi Spellman Realty, LLC suggests you follow these simple, cost-effective tips to stay cool and reduce summer energy bills in your home:
Turn In. Turn On ENERGY STAR® qualified room air conditioners use up to 25 percent less energy than a standard new model and up to 40 percent less energy than a model that is more than 10 years old. Look for a high Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). Units with high EERs cost less to operate. Turn in your old, room air conditioner to your local waste management facility and turn on a new ENERGY STAR air conditioner.
Size it Right
A properly sized air conditioner will operate more efficiently and dehumidify more effectively. An oversized unit will cycle on and off more frequently. Short cycling reduces an air conditioning system’s life, and a short cycling system will not reduce humidity effectively. Undersized equipment can reduce the efficiency of air distribution and accelerate wear on system components, leading to premature failure.
No Dirty Business A dirty filter will increase energy use and can damage the air conditioner leading to early failures, so check the filter every month and replace as needed.
Work in the Morning or Evening
Use ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers in the early morning or late at night when it’s generally cooler outside. Use a microwave oven to cook, or barbecue outside, if possible.
Chill Out in the Shade
A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10 percent less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
Don’t Forget the Adoring Fans
ENERGY STAR qualified ceiling fans can help cool a home without greatly increasing electricity use. They improve airflow and create pleasant breezes.
Just Chill When You’re Home
For central air conditioning, a programmable thermostat allows homeowners to automatically adjust to a more comfortable temperature when they are scheduled to be home. Homeowners can set the temperature to use less cooling when they are normally away. Residents save three percent on energy costs for each degree they turn up the thermostat from 72 degrees. ENERGY STAR window and through-the-wall room air conditioners also typically include programmable thermostats or timers.
A Home Needs Shades Too
Block out heat by keeping blinds or curtains closed during the day, especially on south facing windows.
Take the Whole-House Approach
Houses work as a system. Insulation, heating and air-conditioning, air sealing, water heating, ductwork, windows and doors all work together to determine efficiency. A Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor can perform a home energy assessment to help residents map a plan to improve a home’s energy efficiency.
Turn It Off Save electricity and reduce waste heat by shutting off lights. Seldom used home electronics should actually be unplugged from the wall. Items like DVD players, VCRs and cordless phones use 40 percent of their energy while in the off position to power functions like clocks and remote controls.