Cooling tips - Beat the summer heat and keep energy costs down

Keep your thermostat at 78°F or higher if you're still comfortable. The higher you set the thermostat, the less it will operate unnecessarily.

Keep air conditioner filters clean. They should be cleaned or replaced once a month during the season. If you can do so safely, clean the exposed grill and spines on the outside unit. Don't block window air conditioners. Make sure no objects are leaning on, or directly in the path of the air flowing in or out.
 
Use a programmable thermostat . You only need your air conditioner or furnace to run when you're home. Set timers to come on no more than 30 minutes before you're scheduled to arrive home. If you are home during the day, try to reduce the use of heat-producing appliances such as the oven, range, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer.
 
Don't place lamps or televisions near your air conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, and this may cause it to run longer than necessary.
 
Make sure your home has the appropriate amount of insulation in walls, attics and crawl spaces. Insulation is just as important in the summer as it is during the winter since it helps keep warm air outside. Seal and insulate air-conditioning ducts that run through unconditioned spaces.

Plant deciduous trees to shade your home's walls, windows and roof in the summer. Install a ceiling fan to circulate air above the area where you spend most of your time. You'll feel just as cool under a ceiling fan when it's 82°F.
Run exhaust fans when you shower or cook to vent warm air.
 
Run exhaust fans when you shower or cook to vent warm air. Professional inspections and system tune-ups: having a professional inspect and tune up your heating and central air system can help save on operating costs and extend the equipment-life of your system. A check-up is recommended every year for heat pumps and every five years for other systems.

How to Stay Cool
 
Solar heat gain makes your home much warmer. Here are some easy ways to limit how much the sun heats your home.
Close shades, drapes, blinds and other window treatments to block the sun's heat. If you're wondering which window treatments work best, here's a quick summary:

· Opaque roller shades block 80 percent of the sun's heat.
 
· White venetian blinds block 45 to 50 percent of the sun's heat.

      · Awnings, sunscreens or overhangs reduce heat gain up to 90 percent.

If some windows don't need to be opened, leave on storm windows or plastic window coverings for extra insulation Plant trees for energy savings and summer cooling. You can save up to 25 percent on summer cooling bills, and be more comfortable at the same time. Shade west and east windows. This stops the sun from beating down on your home's roof, walls and windows in the morning and afternoon. Don't plant to the south! Any energy you save during summer will be offset by added heating costs during winter. That's because trees planted on the south block the sun's warmth during winter.

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