Home energy costs will rise with the temperature this summer, as air conditioning comes into play and continuing tight natural gas supplies put upward pressure on electricity prices.
To help consumers reduce their home energy bills and help the nation reduce overall energy use, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Alliance to Save Energy have joined forces on a year-long Powerful $avings campaign and offer consumers tips on smart energy practices and energy-efficiency home improvements:
Smart Energy Practices
- A well-maintained cooling system will run more efficiently, use less energy, and lower energy bills, so clean or replace AC filters monthly or as needed. Also, keep both outdoor and indoor air conditioner coils clean. Dirt build-up on the indoor coil is the single most common cause of poor operating efficiency.
- Reduce the cooling load by effectively shading east and west windows. When possible, delay heat-producing activities such as dish washing until the evening. Close curtains during the day, and install awnings on south-facing windows. Plant shade trees or vines.
- During the cooling season, keep your house closed tight in the daytime to keep unwanted heat and humidity out. If practical, ventilate at night either naturally or with fans.
- Avoid running a dehumidifier at the same time as the AC. The dehumidifier will increase the cooling load and force the air conditioner to work harder.
- Turn off your computer and monitor when you are done using them; activate the “sleep” feature so the machine powers down when on but not in use for a while. When you leave a room, turn off the lights and all other energy-using equipment.
- Shift energy-intensive tasks such as laundry and dish washing to off-peak energy demand hours to increase electricity reliability during heat waves; do full loads when you run washers, dryers, and dishwashers; wash clothes in cold water when possible; clean the lint filter in your dryer after every load.
- Keep lamps or TVs away from the air conditioner thermostat. The heat they generate will cause your air conditioner to run longer, running up bills unnecessarily.