This article was originally published by Alliance to Save Energy and is republished with permission.
Summer is upon us, and cranking up the air conditioner is usually the first thing that comes to mind when trying to escape the heat during a long, hot summer day. According to the Department of Energy, air conditioning accounts for 12 percent of household energy use nationally, with a far higher share in hot, humid climates. For those of us trying to hold down our energy bills, there are simple tips for keeping your home comfortably cool during the summertime while cutting your carbon footprint and saving money:
- Changing/cleaning filters. Regularly cleaning and replacing your cooling units’ filters is the quickest way to save energy while also cooling your home. If you routinely replace or clean your air filters it can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5-15 percent.
- Sealing your home. If your air ducts are poorly sealed or you have a poorly insulated home or leaky doors and windows, you’re paying for a lot of wasted cooling. Air loss through ducts account for about 30 percent of a cooling systems’ energy consumption. And to keep the cold air inside and the warm air out, it is important to insulate your attic and walls, and seal cracks and openings.
- Buy ENERGY STAR products. When you buy new cooling equipment, windows and other products for your home make sure to choose energy-efficient products. For example, an ENERGY STAR-qualified AC unit is on average 15 percent more efficient than standard models. Better yet, look for ENERGY STAR Most Efficient.
- Cover the windows. During the cooling seasons about 76% of sunlight that hits a double-pane window enters and becomes heat. Installing window-coverings or simply closing your blinds can reduce energy loss through the windows and lower cooling bills.
- Hello Ceiling fans. Ceiling fans are a great way to cool a room. In fact, circulating the air in a room can allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F while keeping the same level of comfort. Learn more about cooling and ventilating here.
By following these simple tips, you will be able to beat the summertime heat while cutting the cost of your cooling bills!