Read up on simple steps that can help lower energy usage during the hot summer temperatures.
- Set the thermostat to 78 degrees or higher. If 78 degrees is too high for you, keep in mind you’ll save around 5 to 10 percent on cooling costs for every two degrees you raise the temperature.
- Use ceiling and box fans to provide continuous circulation of air in a room. This creates the wind chill effect whereby the body feels cooler than the room temperature. Run the fans only when the room is occupied. Using ceiling fans can allow you to raise thermostat settings about four degrees without affecting your comfort.
- Limit using heat-generating appliances (oven, stove, dishwasher, etc.) until the cooler hours of the day or night. Fire up the outdoor grill and keep the heat outside, or use a microwave or smaller appliance.
- Do chores such as cooking, cleaning, ironing and laundry during the cooler early morning and evening hours to avoid home heat buildup.
- Unplug electronics, gadgets, and chargers, and turn off computers, monitors and lights that aren’t being used. Much of the energy from a light bulb is heat.
- If your thermostat is located in a hallway with bedrooms, open the doors. Closed doors prevent air movement around the thermostat, which can provide a false reading that causes your AC to run longer than needed.
- Close curtains, blinds and/or shades to prevent the sunlight from warming up the room, especially with windows facing direct sunshine. You may also install energy efficient window coverings that let natural light in, and prevent solar heat gain.
- Make sure furniture or drapes do not block your registers for supply and return air.
- If you plan to upgrade your HVAC system, look for ENERGY STAR qualified units. Even better, consider a heat pump for heating and cooling.
- For further improvements in efficiency, insulate your attic and walls, and seal cracks and openings to prevent air leakage.
SOURCES: NPPD, Department of Energy, and SPPD