By: Brittney Gordon-Williams
Break out the sunscreen and slip on your sandals because summer is officially here. For many, this is one of the best times of year, with longer days and plenty of sunshine to keep you outdoors and enjoying the season. But one must head inside at some point, and you may be surprised to know how much you spend on cooling your home. The average American family spends 15 percent of its utility bill on cooling, and that adds up to hundreds of dollars each year. Check out ENERGY STAR’s top 8 ways to save on cooling this summer, and get ready to save energy, save money and better protect the climate.
1.) Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly:
Just like a tune-up for your car, a yearly tune-up of your HVAC system can improve efficiency and comfort.
2.) Seal and Insulate:
You can save up to $200 a year in heating and cooling costs (or 10 percent on your energy bill) by sealing and insulating your home with ENERGY STAR. When correctly installed with air sealing, insulation can deliver comfort and lower energy bills during the hottest and coldest times of the year.
3.) Install a programmable thermostat:
Used properly, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.
4.) Change your air filter at least every 3 months:
Check your heating and cooling system’s air filter every month. If the filter looks dirty, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every three months. A dirty filter will slow air flow and make the system work harder to keep you cool—wasting energy.
5.) Use a ceiling fan to cool off:
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.
6.) Close the shades:
Close the curtains and shades 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 act as shade.
7.) Buy ENERGY STAR certified lighting:
Swap out incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient lighting choices—ENERGY STAR certified lighting not only uses less energy, it also produces about 75 percent less heat than incandescent lighting, so cooling bills will be reduced too.
8.) Look for the ENERGY STAR:
If you are in the market for a new air conditioner, simply look for the ENERGY STAR. Central air conditioners that have earned the ENERGY STAR are about 16% more efficient. Room air conditioners that have earned the ENERGY STAR use about 10% less energy than conventional models. Fun fact: If all room air conditioners sold in the United States were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $520 million each year and 7 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented, equivalent to the emissions from more than 670,000 vehicles.
Brittney Gordon-Williams is a member of the communications team at EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. Every summer she enjoys early evening walks around neighborhood with her husband and trips to Rehoboth Beach with friends and family.