When the mercury in the thermometer rises, so do energy costs. According to Energy Star, an international standard for energy efficiency, the main contributor to summer electricity bills is air conditioning, so taking steps to keep your system efficient will reduce your bills. Along with performing regular maintenance on your air-conditioning unit, here are a few additional steps you can take to reduce your energy usage:
• Set your thermostat to 78 degrees during the summer, especially when you’re asleep or going to be out of the house for a long period of time.
• Close all blinds, drapes and shades in your home. This will prevent the sun from warming your home during the day.
• Check your outdoor air-conditioning unit to make sure that shrubs and grass aren’t obstructing its airflow.
• Use portable fans or ceiling fans to circulate cool air around your home.
• Clean the filters and vents of your air-conditioning unit to make sure it’s working efficiently. Also make sure that the vents in your home aren’t obstructed by furniture or other objects.
• Unplug any electronics that aren’t being used. Many devices use energy while they’re plugged in, even if they’re turned off.
Also, there are other, more expensive ways to increase your home’s energy efficiency, such as replacing windows or appliances. Oftentimes, efficient appliances and windows will qualify you for a rebate program. Do your research—find out which models are more efficient and watch your energy costs start to drop.