[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (http://firefinance.blogspot.com).]
Here are some great energy saving tips (courtesy Duke Energy) for keeping our houses cool this summer without creating an extra burden on our energy and power bills.
- Keep your thermostat at a higher temperature in the summer. Raising the temperature just 2 degrees can reduce cooling costs by as much as 5 percent.
- An excellent way to match the cooling needs of your home to your personal schedule is to install a programmable thermostat. By doing so you can typically save 10%–15% without compromising personal comfort.
- Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer and work harder, increasing energy use. So replace filters on your air conditioner. For homes with central air, it is important to change the filter before the start of the cooling season and on a monthly basis thereafter.
- Weather strip and caulk any leaky doors and windows and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers. In other words plug air leaks in your home.
- Make sure your central air conditioning system or window unit is properly sized for the space it is intended to cool. Improperly sized units use more energy than necessary.
- Remember that window air conditioning units generally are not designed to cool more than one room.
- If you have a central air conditioning system, do not close off unused rooms or close air registers in rooms. The system will be less efficient and will cost more to operate.
- It always pays off to check insulation levels. If necessary, add insulation in attics and crawl spaces. By doing so, you will not only help conserve energy, but will improve household comfort.
- Leafy trees and shrubs properly placed on the south and west side of your home can provide shade during the peak daytime heat. You can also reduce heat buildup by keeping blinds and curtains closed on windows facing the sun. In short use energy efficient landscaping.
- Make sure an outside air conditioning unit or heat pump is not blocked by shrubbery, leaves or other objects.
- You can save a lot of money by considering cooling alternatives for your home. Fans and dehumidifiers use less energy than air conditioners. Not only that, they can help to increase comfort by reducing humidity levels and maintaining steady air flow.
- Choose energy efficient models, when you want to replace air conditioners or other cooling equipment. Though these may cost a little more, but they can pay for themselves through lower energy usage over the lifetime of the equipment. Here is the link for more information about energy efficient cooling equipment.