As summer starts to heat up and temperatures rise, many of us are cranking up the air conditioner to stay cool. It should come as no surprise then that air conditioners use about 5 percent of all the electricity produced in the U.S., costing homeowners more than $11 billion a year in energy costs. This summer, instead of blasting the air conditioner (and blowing your electricity bills through the roof), you can take simple actions that will help you beat the heat.
- Replace a dirty, clogged air filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5-15 percent.
- Using a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees without impacting your comfort.
- Install and set a programmable thermostat — it could help you save up to 10 percent on heating and cooling costs a year.
- Insulate your attic and walls, and seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home.
- Insulate and seal ducts — air loss through ducts accounts for about 30 percent of a cooling system’s energy consumption.
- Don’t heat your home with appliances. On hot days, consider using a outdoor grill instead of your oven.
- Install energy-efficient window coverings that let natural light in and prevent solar heat gain.
- Buy an ENERGY STAR®-qualified AC unit — on average, they’re up to 15 percent more efficient than standard models.
- Use the bathroom fan when taking a shower or bath and a range hood when cooking — this helps remove heat and humidity from your home.
For more tips on how to increase your home’s energy efficiency and save money on your energy bills, visit the website of the U.S. Department of Energy.