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  • [ July 9, 2013 ]
  • Tips to save energy and money for the hottest days of summer

Summer’s high heat is upon us and before the sweat dripping down your back convinces you to crank the AC, remember these tips to save energy and money from a video from USA Today.

1. Plant trees around your home

Quick-growing trees such as weeping willows or hybrid poplar not only block the sun from entering your home but can also increase the efficiency of your air conditioner by up to 10% if they shade the appliance.

2. Clean your AC

Air conditioners should be cleaned once a month when in use – dirty filters make the system work that much harder to produce cool, clean air.

3. Invest in a programmable thermostat

With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature to adjust with your schedule and thereby save up to $180 a year.

4. Find a fan for circulation

Fans can ease your comfort level just enough that you won’t need to adjust your thermostat, lowering costs up to 14 percent, according to the EPA. *Note: Fans cool people, not the air. Be sure to turn them off when you leave the room!

5. Close the blinds

By preventing light from entering the windows, you may also prevent a fair amount of heat. Other options include solar screens, which can use up to 70% of solar energy before entering the house; or reflective sheets, which reflect the sun’s heat.

6. Replace your AC if it’s old

The Department of Energy says you could cut your energy costs in half by replacing an old unit with and energy-efficient model.

7. Grill out

Avoiding the oven or any other heat-releasing kitchen appliance will keep the heat out of your house, giving the AC an easier time.

8. Hide out in the basement.

It’s always a few degrees cooler down there, so when the heat becomes almost unbearable, duck-out for a moment or two to cool down.

For more tips on saving energy in your home, check out our interactive Home-Energy Series.

Source: Quick tips: cutting your summer cooling costs, usatoday.com

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