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Tips for beating the heat ... and saving on home energy costs

6/29/2018 12:02:17 PM

Summer doesn't have to mean high utility bills to keep your home cool. 

You can stay comfortable – and save money – with proper air conditioning maintenance and a few other basic steps to efficiently cool your home while easing the demand on your AC system.

The Minnesota Commerce Department and U.S. Department of Energy offer these tips:

  • Have your AC system inspected annually, and clean or replace the filters regularly, to ensure the best efficiency.
  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees (or as high as comfortable) when you're at home and need cooling. Use a programmable thermostat to increase the temperature when you're away and lower it when you return home. 
  • Use natural ventilation. Open windows and turn off your AC if it's cool at night and in the mornings. 
  • Use energy-efficient window treatments such as awnings, blinds and draperies. Close them during the day to block sunlight and heat from outside. 
  • Use a ceiling fan only when you're in a room. AC combined with a ceiling fan allows you to raise the thermostat about four degrees with no loss of comfort. Remember to turn off the fan when you leave the room because fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.
  • Find air leaks and seal them with caulk or weather-stripping to prevent hot air from leaking in.
  • Limit the heat from your appliances. Cook outside on a grill, and try not to use the washer, dryer or dishwasher during the heat of the day. Use an exhaust fan when showering and range hood when cooking to remove heat and humidity.
  • Move lamps, TVs and other appliances away from your thermostat because the extra heat they generate will cause the air conditioner to run longer.
  • When landscaping, consider adding shading elements to block solar heat during the hot summer months. 

For more tips, check out the Department of Energy's infographic Energy Saver 101: Everything You Need to Know About Home Cooling, as well as Spring and Summer Energy-Saving Tips.

Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Commerce Department's Division of Energy Resources. Contact the Commerce Department's Energy Information Center at energy.info@state.mn.us or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.

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