Watt, Why & How e-Newsletter

Get Your House in Shape for Summer

Front porchAs warm weather approaches, many of us find ourselves working a little harder to get in shape before we don our summer clothes. Now is a good time to get your house in shape for the cooling season, as well. There are actions you can take to save energy and money, and keep your family cool and comfortable during the hot, humid days of summer.

Air conditioning

  • Have your air-conditioning system inspected and cleaned by a qualified professional. This will help to ensure that the system is operating at peak efficiency and reduce the risk of maintenance or repair problems.
  • Change the filter on your air conditioner before the start of the cooling season and monthly thereafter. Dirty filters restrict airflow, causing the system to run longer and work harder, increasing energy use.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to save energy by adjusting temperatures based on your schedule. To optimize savings, set your thermostat at 78°F when you are at home and 85°F when you are away.
  • Make sure window air conditioners are level when installed so that the inside drainage system and other mechanisms operate efficiently. Do not place TVs or lamps near the thermostat; it may sense the heat from these devices and run the unit more than necessary.

If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old or in need of repair, consider replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR rated unit. ENERGY STAR air conditioners are 15 percent or more efficient than standard models.

Around the house

  • Make sure your walls and attic are insulated to levels recommended for your climate zone. An insulation contractor or qualified home energy auditor can help. Adding insulation saves energy and increases comfort.
  • Install ENERGY STAR certified ceiling fans. Ceiling fans make a space feel cooler, reducing the need for air conditioning. Ceiling fans waste energy when operating in an empty room, so remember to turn them off if you are the last one to leave.
  • Don't let cool air leak out of your home. Check for air leaks in attic joists, exterior plumbing and electrical accesses, as well as doors and windows. Seal with expandable foam, insulation strips, caulking or weatherstripping.
  • Consider a whole house fan. The fan draws cool, outside air through open doors and windows and pulls hot indoor air into the attic and outdoors. A whole-house unit is a simple, low-cost way to keep your home cool all summer long.
  • If you have an older roof, consider upgrading to a cool roof. Cool roof materials are light in color and reflect solar heat, keeping that hot thermal energy from radiating into your home.

See our Money-Saving Tips for more ideas on how you can manage your energy costs this summer and all year long.

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This policy was last revised on December 13, 2017.

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