It certainly doesn't look like the thermometer is going to drop around here anytime soon. If you're like me, you're thinking about how this early heat wave is going to affect your electric bill. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star program offers low to no-cost energy-efficient cooling tips to beat the heat. A typical household spends almost 20 percent of its utility bill on cooling, and by taking steps this summer to improve energy efficiency, you can save energy, save money and help fight climate change.
Try these simple tips to start saving today:
- Program your thermostat to work around your family’s summer schedule—set it a few degrees higher (such as 78 degrees) when no one is home, so your cooling system isn’t cooling an empty house. With proper use, programmable thermostats can save you about $180 a year in energy costs.
- Check your HVAC system’s air filter every month. If the filter looks dirty, change it, but change the filter at least every three months. A dirty filter will slow air flow and make the system work harder to keep you cool, wasting energy.
- Run your ceiling fan to create a cool breeze. If you raise your thermostat by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan, you can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent. Remember that ceiling fans cool you, not the room, so when you leave the room make sure to turn off the fan.
- Pull the curtains and shades closed before you leave your home to keep the sun’s rays from overheating the interior of your home. If you can, move container trees and plants in front of sun-exposed windows to serve as shade.