Take advantage of windows

1. Figure out which windows will maximize natural ventilation. Wind creates areas of positive and negative pressure around your house, so the windows near upwind areas will be cool air inlets and the windows near suction areas will be warm air outlets.

2. If air can take a longer path between windows, more of your house will be cooled. Don’t locate inlet windows and outlet windows directly opposite each other, because the only area that will be cooled will be in the direct path of the airflow.

3. Slightly opened windows will create a better air current than fully opened ones.

4. Close windows and doors during the hottest part of the day. If your house is well-tightened and insulated, rooms should stay relatively cool during afternoon hours.

5. Open windows on cool, low-humidity nights to flush out heat that builds up during the day. Leave windows closed when the humidity is high, or your air conditioner will have to work extra-hard when you turn it on.

Keep the heat out of living areas

6. Stop the sun’s warmth before it gets into your home. Close blinds and curtains during the day; light colors will reflect the most heat.

7. Keep interior lights dimmed or turned off during daylight hours. Turning on a table lamp for reading in a darkened room is a better choice than letting the sun stream in through a south or west window. North or east windows could provide enough light without significantly adding to the heat gain in a room.

8. Unplug the TV, entertainment equipment and computer when you’re not using them. Many of these devices consume power and produce heat in the standby mode.

Create less heat in the kitchen

9. Cover pots and pans on the cooktop or stove. Cooking creates lots of heat and humidity, so contain it as much as possible.

10. Use the exhaust fan. Vent steam and heat from cooking to the outdoors. However, don’t run an exhaust fan longer than necessary; in one hour, an exhaust fan can blow a house full of cooled air outside.

11. Run your dishwasher late at night. Start the dishwasher when you go to bed. If it has a timer, set the dishwasher to run during nonpeak hours in the middle of the night.

12. Use your most energy-efficient appliances for cooking. Instead of your stove or oven, use your microwave oven, toaster oven, crock-pot, steamer or pressure cooker.

13. Use cold water for cooking. Heating the water on your stove or cooktop consumes less energy than using hot water from your water heater – especially if doing so causes your water heater to cycle.

     14. Check the temperatures in the refrigerator and freezer. The temperatures should run 38°-40° F. in the refrigerator and 0°-5° F. in the freezer. Setting colder temperature levels wastes energy and makes these heat-producing appliances run too often.  

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