It may not seem like using a compact fluorescent light bulb or fixing a leaky faucet will do much to reduce your energy costs – or protect the environment. But if every household practiced just a few simple conservation ideas like these, we could reduce energy consumption by a significant amount.
Complete a home energy audit. This survey will analyze the structure of your home, appliances and insulation, in addition to your family’s lifestyle.
Air Conditioning and Cooling in Your Home:
1. Maintain your AC Unit by cleaning the outside compressor with a garden hose (be sure to shut off power at the fuse or breaker first). Keep plantings at least one foot away for adequate airflow.
2. Turn off unnecessary lights during late afternoon and early evening, and wait to use heat-producing appliances as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to shade south- and west- facing windows during the hottest part of the day to keep the heat out.
3. Plant a tree. One well-placed shade tree can reduce your cooling costs by 25 percent. For maximum benefit, place leafy shade trees to the south and west, and evergreens to the north.
4. Make sure a window air conditioner is the proper size. It’s better to get one that’s too small than too large – a larger unit will start up and turn off more frequently and won’t do as good a job dehumidifying the air.
5. Utilize ceiling fans to help circulate air throughout your home, and make sure your attic is properly ventilated. A ceiling fan should run clockwise during the summer, and counter-clockwise during the winter.
6. Don’t judge the efficiency of your AC by the sound of the fan shutting on and off. The blower will continue to circulate cooled air throughout your home up to 15 minutes after the compressor has stopped. (The same holds true for the furnace.)
7. Raise the thermostat to about 78 to 80 degrees whenever you go to bed or leave the house. A programmable thermostat will do this for you automatically.
8. Set the fan on your central air conditioner to “on” rather than “auto.” This will circulate air continuously, keeping the temperature more even throughout the house and aiding in dehumidification.
9. If your home can’t accommodate central air conditioning, try a whole-house attic fan. This device pushes hot air out through attic vents, lowering the temperature throughout your home about five degrees in less than ten minutes. Attic fans cost less than 25 cents per day to operate.
10. During the winter, remove window air conditioners and seal the windows with caulk and weatherstripping. You might also want to cover the central air compressor with a tarp to keep it clean.
I hope you found these tips helpful. Now, give them a shot and see how much you can save!