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“Little changes add up to big savings” in summertime home cooling

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Apr 18th, 2014
Posted in All Home & Garden

As we all look forward to warmer days and the May flowers, there is no doubt that we will probably go from one extreme to another in the coming months of our Minnesota climate. Late April snow will morph into warm, sunny days. While it might be a curse to say that some of these days may be too warm for our liking, it is probably true nonetheless. Those days are when we sit poolside or drift down the Root River. However, we are also prone to crank the A/C, an act that robs the bank account as much as the furnace does.

Touchstone Energy Cooperatives offers some great tips in order to increase home energy efficiency while decreasing your payout. Their website says it best, “Little changes add up to big savings.”

•Run your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. While 78 may not be the coolest, it is a tolerable comfort level. Also, remember this fact: you will gain 1-3 percent of savings during the summer for every degree you boost your thermostat.

•Automate your home’s cooling system with a programmable thermostat. In addition, don’t forget to turn the thermostat to 78 degrees or above if you are leaving your home. It’s pointless to cool the house if no one is there.

•Checking and changing your air filters are important to do every few months in order to maintain efficiency.

•Close your blinds during the summer months. Radiation increases as the sun grows stronger during the spring and summer, heating the interior of your home. If you find your home getting warmer than you are accustomed to, close your blinds and window shades in the morning and open them in the evening.

•Utilize ceiling fans and increase air flow within your home. This tactic takes the edge off of humid, heavy summer air. However, don’t forget to turn them off when leaving for the day.

•Turn off your appliances when they are not in use. Running TV’s, video game consoles, and computer systems generates undesirable excess heat.

•Replace your incandescent light bulbs if you still use them with compact fluorescent bulbs. They use about 25 percent less electricity, give off less heat and last anywhere from 7-10 times longer.

•Wait to use your dishwasher until the evening hours. This will ensure that any heat generated isn’t contributing to an increase in room temperature, which in turn would make your air conditioner run more. If possible, you may also want to only use the air drying feature rather than the heat feature.

•If you are replacing your dishwasher or similar appliances, look for the EnergyStar label. These products are tested to be energy efficient.

•Landscaping can play a significant role in your home energy efficiency in both the winter and summer months. During the warm months of the year, it is important to have shade cast on your outside air conditioning unit so it doesn’t work as hard. Also, large trees on the east and west sides of your home will help ward off the sun’s rays by casting shade upon your home.

As we all look forward to the long days of summer, try some these tips and see how much you can save! For more information on energy saving tips and instructions on how to complete a home energy efficiency assessment, visit Tri-County Electric’s Energy Efficiency/Conservation menu available at www.tec.coop.

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