Clean Those Filters!

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By Lina Younes

With the record temperatures that blanketed the country recently, I’m sure that many air conditioners were working at full blast to keep homes reasonably cool. However, there are many ways to ensure that you get the best use out of your air conditioner without blowing the budget on your electric bill. A useful tip to stay cool and to save money and energy while protecting your health? Clean those filters! By maintaining your cooling system regularly and cleaning those filters, you’ll increase the efficiency of your air conditioning and keep your house cool. Furthermore, the filter also helps to reduce dust particles in your home which in turn can be very irritating to allergy sufferers and those individuals who may be sensitive to dust like asthmatics. For a maintenance checklist on how you should check your cooling system regularly, visit the Energy Star website.

Other useful tips to keep your house cool and save money?

  • Well, install a programmable thermostat. This is ideal for families who may be away for the home during set periods of the day or throughout the week. If you use the pre-programmable settings regularly, a programmable thermostat could help you save up to $180 yearly in energy costs.
  • Install a ceiling fan and use it year round. By adjusting the ceiling fan according to the season (summer-counterclockwise and winter-clockwise) you can freshen the air and use the energy more efficiently. In the summer time you’ll feel actually cooler and in the winter you can feel warmer by reversing the direction of the blades. This allows you to save energy and money at the same time.
  • Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs which are more fuel efficient and produce less heat, thus allowing your home to stay cooler.
  • Even if you don’t own your home, we also have tips for renters to save energy and money while reducing the risks of climate change.
  • If you have many chargers or electronic equipment plugged in around your house, use a power supply as a central “turn off” point when these electronics are not in use.

So what have you been doing to stay cool this summer? These extreme temperatures make me wonder: what did we use to do when we didn’t have air conditioning in our homes?

About the author: Lina Younes is the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. Among her duties, she’s responsible for outreach to Hispanic organizations and media. She spearheaded the team that recently launched EPA’s new Spanish website, www.epa.gov/espanol . She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. She’s currently the editor of EPA’s new Spanish blog, Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente. Prior to joining the agency, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and an international radio broadcaster. She has held other positions in and out of the Federal Government.