Energy-saving tips

***Air conditioning can account for 50% or more of your electric bill.  Here are some tips to increase energy efficiency and save money:

***Leave most of the air vents open in your home.  Closing the vents in more than 10% of the total air conditioned space creates a pressure imbalance and reduces the effectiveness of your AC.

***Do moisture producing chores when it is cooler resulting in less work for your AC.  Wash clothes and dishes or mop floors early in the morning or at night.

***Set the thermostat between 78-80 degrees when you are home and up to 85 when you are away.  For every degree you set your thermostat above 80, you can save approximately 2-3% on your cooling costs.

***Install a programmable thermostat.  Set it to allow the temperature in your home to increase by 5-10 degrees while you’re not home and return to a comfortable temperature an hour before you return home.

***Turn your AC fan to “auto.”  This turns the fan motor off when the unit is not cooling.  Using “auto” instead of “on” can save you $15-$25 each month on your energy costs.

***Schedule maintenance service on your cooling service each year to prevent or avoid expensive repairs later.

***Purchase a higher-SEER unit when the time comes to replace your cooling system.  The efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps is indicated by the “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).  The higher the number, the more cooling you will get for your dollar.

***Buy the correct sized cooling system.  Bigger is not always better when it comes to your air conditioner.  A unit that is too large for your house will cause frequent cycling, inefficient operation and higher operating costs.

***Set ceiling fans to blow downward during the summer to circulate air rather than lowering your thermostat.  Remember, fans do not cool the air, but make us feel cooler due to the air circulating.

***Clean debris and obstructions from around outdoor AC components.

***Replace or clean air filters at least once a month.  A dirty filter forces your equipment to work harder, causing higher energy bills and shortening the lifespan of your system.  Changing filters is one of the least expensive, simple, proactive steps you can take to lower energy costs and maintain your AC.

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