By Gene And Katie Hamilton
Keeping your home cool and comfortable in the summer can be expensive, considering the escalating price of energy. But there are ways to keep your cooling budget from overheating.
1. Operate heat-generating appliances like a dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer early in the morning or late evening when the weather is typically cooler. Consider washing your laundry in cold water instead of hot.
2. Make sure doors and windows are closed tight. Block out daytime sun on windows with a shade or window covering. On the other hand, open windows on cool days and evenings.
3. Don't put a heat-generating lamp or television near the thermostat for a central air system; it makes the unit run longer. Also, keep lights low or off unless they're needed.
4. The Alliance to Save Energy suggests stopping energy leaks by caulking and weather stripping all seams, cracks and openings to the outside of your house. This can save 10 percent or more on your energy bills.
5. Reduce the load on your cooling appliances by setting the thermostat of a central air system higher. If you typically have it set at 76 degrees, notch it up to 78. If you have window air conditioning units, turn them off if you leave your house for several hours.
6. Because moving air feels cooler than still air, use a ceiling fan to provide better circulation. You can then raise the temperature on the thermostat and still feel cool.
7. Clean or replace air filters at least once a month on your central air conditioning system or window unit. Dirty air filters have to work much harder to move the air.
8. Consider planting a tree or shrubbery to provide shade for your house. You can expect a return on the investment in less than 8 years, according to the U.S. Dept of Energy. Window awnings significantly reduce solar gain in the summer, too.
Implement any and all of these energy-saving tips for warm weather and you'll be glad you did.
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