Follow these steps from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to save as much as 20 percent on your summer cooling costs.
- Find and seal air leaks that cause drafts and make your cooling system work overtime. Improving your home’s “envelope” or “shell” – its outer walls, ceilings, windows, doors and floors – is the most cost-effective way to improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. According to ENERGY STAR®, home sealing can help you save up to 10 percent on your energy bills each year.
- Look for the ENERGy STAR when purchasing cooling products for your home. Products such as room air conditioners and program- mable thermostats that dis- play the ENERGY STAR label operate more efficiently, because they meet strict energy-efficiency criteria set by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Schedule annual maintenance checkups with a licensed contractor to ensure your cooling system is operating efficiently and safely. Dirt and neglect are the leading causes of sys- tem failure, so get a cooling system checkup. If your cooling system is more than 12 years old and needs replacing, choose a properly sized (not oversized), energy-efficient model.
- Install a programmable thermostat and use ceiling fans wisely. A programmable thermostat can help you save up to $150 in energy costs each year. ENERGY STAR qualified ceiling fans provide a cooling breeze and allow you to raise the thermostat setting. (But remember to turn the fan off when you leave the room, since the fan cools you – not the room.) Learn what else you can do to make your home more energy-efficient by visiting “ENERGy STAR @ home” at www.energystar.gov/home. Learning how energy is used in your home is an important step toward cutting energy costs, improving your home’s energy efficiency and protecting the environment. At this Web site, you’ll find a more complete version of the in- formation shown here; note that many of the tips can apply to several rooms.
- Keep air registers clean and unblocked
- Buy an ENERGY STAR qualified room air conditioner
- Use CFLs in ceiling fixtures and bedside lamps
- Turn off lights when you leave
- Caulk and weather-strip around windows
- Look for the ENERGY STAR on TVs and DVD players
- Use a ceiling fan and raise your thermostat setting
- Tightly close the fireplace damper
- Use a timer to control a lamp when you’re away
- Install screens for ventilation on cool summer nights
- Close window shades and drapes to keep out sun
- Seal outlets and switches with inexpensive foam gaskets
- Unplug power adapters when not in use
- Let your computer sleep when you’re not using it
- Use a power strip to turn off all equipment
- Buy an ENERGY STAR qualified multifunction printer
- Run vent fan for up to 15 minutes after showering
- Seal holes for plumbing pipes
- Take showers instead of baths
- Use CFLs in vanity lights and ceiling fixtures
- Repair faucet leaks
- Buy an ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator
- Recycle your energy-wasting old refrigerator
- Run full loads in dishwasher; use air-dry option too
- Use microwave for reheating or cooking small meals
- Cook with right-sized, covered pots on stove burners
- Use a vent hood to remove moisture
- Wash clothes with cold water
- Run full loads or adjust settings for smaller loads
- Clean the dryer’s lint trap after every load
- Don’t over-dry clothes
- Check cooling system’s air filter monthly
- Set water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees