Office of Energy Policy
Cool Summer Tips to Save Energy
Frankfort, KY, (June 23, 2005) – During the hot weather you can cut your cooling costs and lower your energy bill. Keep your central air conditioning system well tuned. A well-tuned air conditioning system operates more efficiently, using less energy. If it’s cool outside, open windows and use portable or ceiling fans instead of operating your air conditioner. Use a fan with your window air conditioner to spread the cool air through your home. Use a programmable thermostat with your air conditioner to adjust the setting at night or when no one is home. Do not place lamps or televisions near your air conditioning thermostat. The heat from these appliances will cause the air conditioner to run longer. If your air conditioner is old, new energy efficient models can save you up to 50 percent on your cooling bills. Look for the ENERGY STAR® when selecting a new air conditioner.
Air leaks can waste energy dollars year-round. Caulking and weatherstripping will keep cool air in during the summer. If you see holes or separated joints in your ducts, hire a professional to repair them. Add insulation around air conditioning ducts when they are located in unconditioned spaces such as attics, crawl spaces, and garages. Check to see that your fireplace damper is tightly closed.
Landscaping is a natural and beautiful way to keep your home more comfortable and reduce energy bills. Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but do not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses less electricity. Grown on trellises, vines such as ivy or grapevines can shade windows or the whole side of a house.
Avoid landscaping with unshaded rock, cement or asphalt on the south or west sides because it increases the temperature around the house and radiates heat to the house after the sun has set. Deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides will keep your house cool in the summer. Trees provide shading and cooling. Just three trees, properly placed around a house, can save between $100 and $250 annually in cooling and heating costs. Daytime air temperatures can be 3° to 6° cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods.
The following no-cost or low-cost tips are easy ways to save energy and money:
• Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents.
• Air-dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's drying cycle.
• Use a microwave oven instead of a conventional electric range or oven.
• Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.
• Plug home electronics, such as TVs and VCRs, into power strips and turn power strips off when equipment is not in use.
• Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater; 115° is comfortable for most uses.
• Take showers instead of baths to reduce hot water use.
• Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
For more ideas about saving energy, visit the Office of Energy Policy’s Web site at http://www.energy.ky.gov/energyhelp/tips/.