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10 tips to reduce air conditioning
and energy bills

Just when you think it can't get any hotter, it does. 

Lucky you. You've got air conditioning. Lucky you. You've got air conditioning bills.

But they don't have to be astronomically high.

There are some little things you can do around your home that can add up to big savings on your utility bill next month.

Here are 10 ways to lower your air condititioner or central air energy usage during the dog days of summer, while still maintaining your cool. 

1.  Keep Air Conditioning on During the Day; Off at Night

To reduce your energy bills during the hottest days of the year, keep the air conditioner on during the day, and turn it off at night when you retire.

Open the windows at night to take advantage of the naturally cooler, evening air.

2.   Set the Thermostat at 78 Degrees

To keep your home cool in summer, draw the drapes and close the windows to keep hot air and the sun's burning rays out.

Set the thermostat at 78 degrees F (26 degrees C) or higher when you're home. 

For every degree you raise your central air thermostat temperature, you'll save 3 to 5 percent on your monthly energy bills.

Suffer a little heat now, reap the monetary rewards next month.

Consider installing a programmable thermostat with a built-in timer. While you can easily adjust your thermostat yourself, for energy efficiency it makes sense to have a system that does it automatically for you. 

Don't place your air conditioner thermostat near lamps, appliances, or in direct sunlight.

Heat in these areas is sensed by the thermostat and could cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.

3.   Don't Leave a Light On

Since the energy for lighting accounts for some 10 percent of your electricity bills, you can save by lightening up on your wattage.

If you're using 100-watt bulbs where 60-watt bulbs would do, consider replacing them. And switch to energy smart fluorescent bulbs that screw into standard sockets.

Outdoors, replace incandescent lighting with high-pressure sodium or outdoor fluorescent bulbs for additional savings. Try solar-powered pathway lamps or high-efficiency sodium lamps for security lighting. Light=heat=harder-working AC. 'Nuff said.

4.   Keep Upstairs Rooms Cool with Fans

Fans in upstairs rooms help chilled air circulate less expensively.

Install an attic fan and use it - especially in upstairs rooms.

Heat rises, as you know.

So instead of cranking up the air conditioner, bring in the fans to save the day.

You'll save money on monthly electricity bills by helping the chilled air circulate less epensively. 

5.   Shut Out the Sun to Keep Your Home Cooler

To keep your home cool this summer, draw the drapes, close window blinds, and close windows to keep hot air and the sun's burning rays out.

6.   Lighten Up on Your Interior Decorating

Pale colors for walls, draperies, rugs, and upholstery can help reflect light and can reduce the number of lamps needed to light a room adequately.

7.   Seal Door and Window Cracks

Check your home's doors and windows for cracks or gaps that allow hot air to seep in, causing your air cooling system to work harder.

Install weather stripping around windows and doors if needed. Making sure your home is well-insulated against the heat is key to reducing those electric bills.

8.   Replace Your AC Filter Every 3 Months

To keep your air conditioner running at peak efficiency, replace the filter every three months for more home energy efficiency. It will also help stave off an expensive air conditioner repair.

9.   Turn Off the Television

Turn off the TV. It generates heat, too. (Sorry, kids!)

10.   Use Your Microwave Instead of the Oven

Use your microwave whenever possible instead of heating the whole house with the oven. Why make your air conditioning bills skyrocket?

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› 10 Tips to Reduce Your Air Conditioning Bill