Stay cooler while saving energy

Your use of indoor energy can soar with the rising temperatures. Here are five ways to take control:

  • Cover the windows. Half of all of the heat that enters your home during the summer comes in through the windows. Invest in a thick shade or window film to block out the summer sun. Save up to 15 percent on your cooling bill by shading west-facing windows, which absorb the most afternoon sun. For the hottest parts of your house, consider installing an awning or planting trees in front of the window to shade the house.
  • Change a/c filters. A filter for your air conditioning system costs only dollars (about $5 for a high-quality, pleated model), but can save you much more if you change it every month during the summer. Dirty air conditioning filters prevent air flow and make the air conditioning system work harder. That means a higher bill.
  • Turn the thermostat up. For every degree you turn your thermostat up during air conditioning season, you’ll save up to 2 percent on your cooling costs. Try setting your thermostat at 78 degrees, and turn on a ceiling fan to help circulate the air.
  • Use your ceiling fans. Fans don't cool the air, but they make the air feel cooler by moving it around the room and against your skin, which creates a sort of “wind chill” effect. When the fan is running, you can move your thermostat three to four degrees higher without noticing a difference in your comfort level.