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Reduce Hot Weather Energy Use

While it may seem difficult to reduce energy use, especially in parts of the country that see triple digits, it is possible to cut energy costs in the hot summer months. By maintaining and upgrading equipment, using the appropriate level of insulation and air sealing, and adjusting thermostat settings, homeowners can slash energy use and significantly reduce environmental emissions. Here are nine easy-to-implement ideas:

  • Adjust the thermostat- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher in the summer. Each degree above 78 can save families one percent.
  • Insulate – Proper insulation decreases the cooling needed to provide effective resistance to outdoor heat moving indoors. Ensure walls and attics are properly insulated. Attic insulation is one of the most cost-effective energy saving measures, and one someone can do by himself. For specific recommendations on how much insulation a home needs, use the DOE’s Zip Code Insulation calculator.
  • Service air conditioners – Have cooling systems professionally serviced annually, regularly replace air filters and clean the outside of the unit. 
  • Besides age, the condition of an air conditioner can cause it to be less efficient. If it is more than 12 years old, consider replacing it with one that has a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 14.0 or higher.
  • Weatherize – Prevent drafts by placing weather-strips and caulk around windows and doors. Replace existing weather-stripping that is not in good condition.
  • Cover or insulate outlets – Stop hot air from coming in through electric outlets. Use outlet covers or remove plates and insert special insulation underneath.
  • Install ceiling fans – Install ceiling fans to spread cool air more evenly around a room. Fan direction should be down for the summer. In addition, use portable fans to help feel more comfortable at higher thermostat settings.  Turn all fans off when no one is home.
  • Use blinds and drapes – Close window treatments on sunny summer days to keep heat out, especially on windows receiving direct sunlight.
  • Install programmable thermostats – Installing a programmable thermostat allows homeowners to easily adjust the temperature overnight or when the house is not occupied. It is possible to reduce cooling costs by up to 20 percent.
  • Minimize pool pump running time- Avoid running a pool pump all the time.  Eight hours is sufficient. By controlling usage, it is possible to reduce summer energy expenses.

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