Cooling your home in the summer can require more than half of your energy budget. So just how do you reduce your energy demands this summer? Simple solutions such as these can lower your energy bill.
• Use the air conditioner only when necessary. If the breeze outside is pleasant, open a window.
• Use ceiling fans and other cooling fans to circulate air, but turn fans off when no one is in the room.
• Educate family members about energy conservation – keep doors and windows shut while the air conditioner is running.
• Schedule regular check-ups and maintenance for your heating/cooling units by a qualified heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technician.
• Clean or replace unit filters every month.
• Keep air registers open, clean and free of furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
• Use a programmable thermostat. In the summer, set your thermostat to 78 degrees F, or your highest comfortable setting. For each degree you raise your thermostat, you can reduce your cooling costs by as much as 3-5 percent.
• Use kitchen and bathroom ventilation fans wisely – use them for short periods to circulate air as necessary. Running them for extended periods uses energy unnecessarily and allows cool air to escape outside.
• Use shade trees and other landscape features, awnings, and window coverings to keep the sun from overheating your home.
Leaks around windows and doors mean that cool air is getting out. Some leaks will be apparent to homeowners, but frequently larger leaks in the attic and basement lose more cool air than the obvious ones. Homeowners can frequently find large gaps around pipes, light fixtures, chimneys, and soffits. Some sealing projects are appropriate for do-it-yourselfers, while others may require the assistance of a professional.
Reducing your energy needs in the summer benefits you, the consumer, and the larger community. Keeping your cooling bill in check leaves more money to meet other obligations, and reducing your energy needs means cleaner air for everyone. To learn more about saving energy in the home, come to Chill Your Bill a workshop sponsored by Johnston County Cooperative Extension on Thursday, July 19 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., taught by Jayne McBurney, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent with the Cooperative Extension Service. For more information on energy conservation tips for your home or to register for the workshop, contact the Johnston County Cooperative Extension at 919-989-5380.