Tips On How To Keep Your Home Cool
During Hot Summer Months
The hot days of summer are here and that means trying to stay cool and comfortable. Here are some important tips on how you can beat the heat by controlling your electric utility costs. This information is provided by the Moreno Valley Utility Company of Moreno Valley, California.
The single most important step in residential energy conservation is the installation of thermal insulation.
- The US Dept. of Energy recommendation for home insulation is R-38 for attics and R-13 for wood frame walls and floors.
- Double-glazed windows cut heat transfer 40-50%.
- Weather-stripping and caulking around doors and windows can reduce air leaks which may be 15-30% of energy use.
- Air conditioners vary in efficiency and in the amount of energy used. Seek professional help in determining the size of cooling equipment needed. An oversized unit may draw more energy than is necessary and may not dehumidify properly.
- A programmable thermostat is an excellent investment, saving energy at night and when no one is at home.
- An attic fan or whole house fan can release attic heat built-up during the day, reducing the time and energy needed to cool the house in the evening.
- Well placed trees can reduce daytime heat and provide shade for the A/C compressor, increasing its efficiency.
- Set the thermostat as high as comfort will permit. Fans increase the comfort level using very little energy.
- Draw blinds or drapes to block the sunlight during the hottest part of the day, especially on south and west-facing windows.
- Change your A/C filter regularly. A clogged filter makes your unit work much harder.
- If you are home during the day, consider a window A/C unit to cool just one small area.
Refrigerators And Freezers
Keeping your food and beverages cold also requires a large amount of energy.
- Consider replacing an old refrigerator or freezer before it breaks down. An ENERGY STAR replacement will use at least 12% less energy.
- Unplug and lock units in the garage during the summer months. Not only will the extra energy erode any possible food savings, but the unit will not keep the food cold enough to prevent dangerous food spoilage!
- Door gaskets should seal tightly against the frame. Check their condition by placing a dollar bill under the gasket. If the bill can be pulled out with a very gentle tug, the door needs adjustment or gasket replacement.
- Teach children to minimize the amount of time the door is left open. Cold air inside a refrigerator is like thousands of ping pong balls that quickly fall out when the door is open.
- Do not place uncovered liquids in a refrigerator. In addition to absorbing odors, the vapors add to the compressor's workload.
Cooking And Baking
- Reduce oven use during hot summer months so that your A/C is not working overtime to remove the extra heat from the house.
- Reduce oven pre-heat time to 5-8 minutes. Most dishes do not require any pre-heating.
- Microwaves, crock pots and other counter top appliances can reduce cooking energy by 50%.
- Compact florescent light bulbs (CFL) can reduce energy use by 75% and last up to 10 time longer than standard bulbs.
- Multi-lamp chandeliers use much more energy than a single bulb fixture.
Note: Certain rebates are offered for the installation of solar panels and other energy saving devices.
The US Department of Energy website for residential energy conservation contains many conservation tips as well as buying guides, rebates and energy use calculators. Log on to www.energysavers.gov
More ways to keep your home cool.