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7 Tips to Reduce Your Cooling Bill This Summer

5/19/2011 4:16:27 PM

Tags: save money on air conditioning, how to reduce air conditioning, natural cooling tips, tips to reduce cooling bills, Environmental Protection Agency, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

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Air conditioning sucks up almost 20 percent of the average homeowner’s utility bill and contributes to pollution that adversely affects the quality of the air we breathe. As air conditioning season descends, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers the following simple tips for reducing your cooling bill this summer.

  1. Change to more efficient light bulbs. Energy Star-qualified lighting not only uses less energy, but also produces approximately 75 percent less heat than incandescent lighting.
  2. Find the best thermostat settings. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it a few degrees higher (to about 78 degrees) when no one is home. 
  3.  Use ceiling fans optimally. Run your ceiling fan to create a cool breeze. If you raise your thermostat by only 2 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. (If you’re in the market, Emerson makes the most energy-efficient ceiling fan.) 
  4. Maximize shade. Pull the curtains and shades closed before you leave your home to keep the sun’s rays from overheating the interior. If you can, move container trees and plants in front of sun-exposed windows to serve as shade.  
  5. Reduce oven time. Use a microwave or toaster oven instead of an oven to cook, when you can. Ovens take longer to cook food and can make your house warmer.  
  6. 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. 
  7. Plug duct system leaks. As much as 20 percent of the air moving through your home’s duct system is lost 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. 

For more information on ways to cut energy costs this summer, visit


A good ceiling fan can help you reduce cooling bills by as much as 14 percent. 

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B Knight
5/28/2011 3:01:02 PM
Couple more suggestions: provide shade over your outside air conditioner - helps the unit run more efficiently. Consider using a room air conditioner to cool just the area you are in. note that modern room air conditioners use 50% less electricity than 1990 models. And here's a page that lists 24 ways to keep cool WITHOUT air conditioning:

5/28/2011 7:02:49 AM
One simple one not ususally included. Open the windows and turn on the fans, not just use the fans with the air conditionng which, by the way, can be set higher than many summer night temps. Especially in parts of te south where we live. Our home is, I will admit is a really cool spot in hot weather, but our whole area at night can be cooler than the 78 recommended for setting the thermostat. One better step when able is have a whole house fan installed, we have to have an extra light cover over our bed spread in summer because of the cool air coming into the house from the fan. I can't live with the windows closed anyway, just hate the way a closed up house feels. We air out the house in the early morning and then close up the windows that are on the west or south sides of the house or pull down what blinds we have, not many but we don't have any nieghbors and a deep porch around much of house. Right now on May 28 at 7:00 AM it is 56 degrees and it will be 90 later today, 10 degres over normal but our house will stay cool like it has air on until evening when we start the fans and chill down again. No air running. There are times when my husband has come home thinking the air was on and it wasn't. Why do people think they need to wear sweathers in the summer, and t-shirts in the winter anyway?

Terry Robb_5
5/27/2011 4:34:54 PM
Most nutitionists that I have information from say not to use microwaves go to google and look at dangers of microwaves. Also CFLs have mercury in them and they break and do not last like the sellers say they do. LED lamps use half the energy as CFLs and last way longer. They are expensive but since utilities have raised rates this yr the savings will pay for the cost. Also you can but these LEDs online at less price than home depot. Keeping utility rates the same as previous yrs is what I am doing evan though the rates have gone up. Also I do not like using fans they dry my eyes.

Maxie Coale
5/20/2011 4:57:40 AM
I like the tips about using a ceiling fan and optimizing shade, will definitely try them. Thanks for the article!

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