As the summer temperatures rise, so will your energy bill as air conditioning is used more and more and the continuing tight natural gas supplies put upward pressure on electricity prices.
To help consumers reduce their home energy bills and help the nation reduce overall energy use, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Alliance to Save Energy have joined forces to offer consumers tips on smart energy practices and energy-efficient home improvements:
Smart Energy Practices:
- A well maintained cooling system will run more efficiently, use less energy and lower energy bills. Keep filters clean/changed regularly and keep coils clean.
- Reduce the cooling load by effectively shading east and west windows. Delay heat producing activities, such as dish washing, until the evening. Close curtains during the day and install awnings on south windows.
- Keep your house closed tight during the day to prevent heat and humidity from entering your house. If practical, at night ventilate with fans or naturally with open windows.
- Turn off your computer and monitor when you are done using them. Turn off lights and energy-using equipment when you leave a room.
- Shift energy-intensive tasks such as laundry and dish washing to off-peak energy demand hours. Do full loads when running dishwashers, washers and dryers.
- Switch to cold water washing of laundry in top-loading, energy efficient washing machines to save energy; clean the lint filter in your dryer after every load.
- Keep lamps away from your thermostat. The heat they generate will cause your air conditioner to run longer, running up bills unnecessarily.
Energy Efficient Improvements:
- Get the most energy efficient air conditioner you can afford. Look for a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) 14 or higher on central systems and the Energy Star label on room units.
- Save 10 percent per year with a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature by 10 to 15 percent for the hours that no one is home.
- Ceiling fans provide additional cooling and better circulation so you can cut back on how much you run your air conditioner.
- Sufficient insulation can reduce your cooling costs up to 30 percent. A great product to check out is Owens Corning AttiCat Insulation.
- Plug energy leaks with caulking and weather stripping all seams, cracks and openings to the outside.
- Install high performance, Energy Star certified windows.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which use one-fourth the energy and last up to seven times longer.