Save Energy and Lower Your Cooling Bills

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Here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, we’ve been fortunate enough to have lower-than-normal temperatures so far this summer.  I’ve heard many people say how great it’s been to not have to run the air conditioner, especially in these difficult economic times when paying high energy bills is the last thing you want to do.  But, if you live in an area where you’re not so lucky and the heat and/or humidity is taking it’s toll on your electricity bills, check out a few things you can do to lessen the burden on your wallet: 

Not only does saving energy save you money, but it also benefits the environment by minimizing pollution caused by electricity generation.

  1. Keep windows and curtains/blinds closed during the day, in rooms that get direct sun, and open them at night to let the cooler air in.  Awnings installed on the south and west-facing sides of your house will also help.  If it’s not breezy, a fan placed in a window can be used to pull the cool air inside at night.  This will save 20-50% on your cooling bills.
  2. Turn up the thermostat for your central air system to 78 degrees (or higher) to save 5 to 8% on cooling costs with each degree above that mark.  According to This Old House, “When you leave home for more than one hour, set the thermostat to 85 or 90 degrees. Reset it upon your return, and the room will cool down in only 15 minutes. The system will use less energy during the cool-down period than if you had left it running at a lower setting while you were out.”
  3. Install a programmable thermostat so you don’t have to remember to adjust the temperatures while you’re away at work and sleeping at night.  Save up to 20% on cooling costs.
  4. Keep your central air system operating efficiently by changing filters when needed and sealing leaky ducts.  Annual maintenance with an HVAC contractor is also a good idea.  Save up to 40% on cooling (and heating) costs.
  5. A ceiling fan uses a small amount of energy, but can make a room feel 4-6 degrees cooler.  Be sure to use it only when you’re in the room and set it to spin counterclockwise in summer.  You can even purchase a motion-detector switch so it turns on and off automatically.  Save up to 15% on cooling bills with ceiling fans.
  6. A whole-house attic fan does wonders to cool down the house.  Run it at night and open the windows to pull in the cooler night air.  You can save up to 50% on your cooling bills!
  7. If you don’t have central air and have a room or two in dire need of cooling, look for Energy Star rated room air conditioners.
  8. Plant deciduous trees that will provide shade on the south and west-facing sides of your home.  Cut up to 30% off your cooling bills!
  9. Cooking and baking during the cooler hours of the day will save 2-5% on your cooling bills.  Try refreshing recipes that call for minimal cooking on those hot, sticky days.
  10. Lighting the house with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) will make your home feel cooler.  They use about 75% less energy and emit 90% less heat.
  11. Tighten up your house by weatherstripping and sealing air leaks in your attic, basement or crawl space, around windows and doors, and around conduits and vents.  Use low-VOC products to not compromise good indoor air quality.  Save up to 10% on cooling costs.
  12. Insulate and ventilate your attic since the hot temps up there contribute to higher cooling costs in your living spaces (up to 40% higher!).  Click here to see how much insulation the Department of Energy recommends for homes in your zip code.

photo by James Thompson

Tag(s): Energy, Greening the Home, Money Saving


2 Responses to “Save Energy and Lower Your Cooling Bills”

  1. Betsy S. Franz on July 13th, 2009 4:39 pm

    Great post. Excellent website. I’m going to add you to my blogroll.

  2. Rich on July 17th, 2009 3:32 pm

    Solar Battery Chargers are amazingly sensible and fun to use! Because not having to pay money to charge your IPOD, is a whole lot of fun!

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