Top 5 Ways to Chill out this Summer with ENERGY STAR

By: Brittney Gordon

Even when the temperature goes up, your utility bills can still stay low. With help from ENERGY STAR you can keep your cool, tame those bills, and help fight climate change. The secret is to keep your cooling system from working too hard. Discover these Top 5 Ways to Chill Out with ENERGY STAR, so that you and your cooling system can both enjoy the summer!

1. Keep the heat out

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Take advantage of shades, blinds, curtains, awnings and even trees to  keep the sun out during the day, especially on the south and west side of your house. If you are upgrading your windows, consider ENERGY STAR certified windows, which will keep even more heat out. Find and seal leaks (the biggest ones are in your attic and basement) – this will also help reduce humidity and keep out pests and pollen.  Consider adding attic insulation so less heat radiates down into your house from your hot attic.  Sealing air leaks and improving your home’s insulation could save you up to $200 a year in cooling/heating costs (or about 10 percent of your annual energy bill).  Finally, if you’re replacing your roof, you can reduce the effects of the hot sun by installing ENERGY STAR certified roof products.

2. Keep the cool in

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You’re paying for your AC’s cool air, so don’t let it leak out of your ducts before it gets to the vent and the rooms you want to cool. That’s YOUR air!  In most homes, 25 percent of air that flows through air conditioning ducts leaks out before it gets to you. So get a contractor to test your ducts, seal them, and insulate them so you’re not paying for cool air you don’t get to use. You could reduce your cooling energy bill by about 20 percent.

3. Maintain Your Cooling System

Thermostat

A simple tune up of your HVAC equipment can do wonders.  Make sure you also change your air filter regularly – EPA recommends every three months at a minimum.   And, if you do not have a programmable thermostat – install one and program it around your family’s summer schedule. Setting the thermostat up by seven degrees when you’re away from home and up by four degrees when you’re asleep can save more than $180 a year.

4. Be a fan of fans

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If you raise your thermostat by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan instead, you can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent. Use bedroom fans on those cooler summer nights when you might be able to turn off your central air conditioning and naturally cool your home for a lot less. Plus, don’t forget to use your ENERGY STAR certified vent fans to get rid of that unwanted humid air in your bathroom after a shower.

5. Look for the ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR Logo

If your central air conditioning unit is more than 12 years old, replacing it with an ENERGY STAR certified model could cut your cooling costs by 30 percent. In the market for a new room air conditioner? Find one that has earned the ENERGY STAR and use about 15 percent less energy. ENERGY STAR certified dehumidifiers also use 15 percent less energy than a conventional unit.  One last easy tip is to change out those old, hot, incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified CFL and LED bulbs–they produce 75% less heat!

Looking for more great tips? Head to www.energystar.gov/cooling.

About the Author: Brittney Gordon-Williams works on the ENERGY STAR communication’s team. Her summer cooling project will involve trying out ENERGY STAR certified LEDs in her new home.

 

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

ENERGY STAR’s Top 8 Ways to Save on Cooling

Boy, sky, globe

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.

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Protecting the Climate All Summer Long

By: Brittney Gordon

With the Memorial Day holiday already in our rearview mirror, the unofficial start to summer has begun. Summer is one of my favorite seasons, and like many people I already have visions of vacations and day trips dancing in my head. But, did you know that the average American spends almost 20 percent of her utility bill on cooling? That use of energy not only hurts your wallet, but also increases greenhouse gas emissions that harm our environment.

If you are looking to cut your energy bills this summer, you are in luck. Summer can be one of the easiest times of year to incorporate new energy-saving practices into your life. Check out these simple tips from ENERGY STAR, and use the money you save on utility bills to have a little summer fun.

· Change to More Efficient Light Bulbs. Change out standard light bulbs with more energy-efficient lighting choices. ENERGY STAR qualified lighting not only uses less energy, but also produces approximately 75 percent less heat than incandescent lighting, so cooling bills will be reduced, too.
· Find the Best Thermostat Settings. If you have a programmable thermostat, program it to work around your family’s summer schedule—set it a few degrees higher (such as 78 degrees) when no one is home, so your cooling system isn’t cooling an empty house.
· Use Ceiling Fans Optimally. 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.
· Maximize Shade. Pull the curtains and shades closed 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 serve as shade.
· Check Air Conditioner Filters. Check your cooling system’s air filter every month. If the filter looks dirty, change it. A good rule is to change the filter at least every three months. A dirty filter will slow air flow and make the system work harder to keep you cool—wasting energy. Also, remember to have your system serviced annually to ensure it’s running at optimum efficiency for money and energy savings.
· Plug Duct System Leaks. As much as 20 percent of the air moving through your home’s duct system is lost due to leaks and poor connections. Seal duct work using mastic sealant or metal tape and insulate all the ducts that you can access (such as those in attics, crawlspaces, unfinished basements, and garages). Also, make sure that connections at vents and registers are well-sealed where they meet floors, walls, and ceilings. These are common locations to find leaks and disconnected ductwork.

Brittney Gordon is a communications team member for EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. Her favorite summer activities include mini trips to the beach and reading great books.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.