"Cool" Hot Weather Habits

"Cool" Hot Weather Habits

Keep your house cool in the summer by preventing it from getting hot in the first place. This means keeping the outside heat from getting inside and reducing the amount of the heat generated by inefficient appliances and lights inside.

According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), air-conditioning costs U.S. consumers over $10 billion annually. Improving the efficiency of an air conditioner (AC) with simple maintenance and reducing the amount of time the AC is running can drastically reduce that cost.

A programmable thermostat for a central AC system helps save energy by storing and repeating multiple daily temperature settings. These settings can be manually overridden without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program. This allows a home to use cooling energy only at the needed times.

"Cool" Hot Weather Habits
Making some minor changes in your personal habits during the summer will reduce your need for air conditioning and add to your energy savings. While the following lifestyle habits may not always be possible, incorporating some or all of them into your summer routine will help you stay cool and reduce your home cooling costs.

When using an air conditioner, use energy efficient thermostat settings between 74 F and 78 F. When the humidity is high it is better to not opening your windows on cooler days or at night. The AC unit will have to work extra hard to remove the humidity from inside before it can begin to cool.
Keep interior lights low or, if possible, completely off during the daylight hours. Light fixtures and appliances such as televisions and stereos generate heat and add to cooling costs.
Close drapes or window blinds during the daylight hours. During the summer months a single-pane, unshaded window can let in about 85 percent of the heat found in sunlight.
Use fans to create a cross breeze in your home, blowing air from the cooler side to the warmer side.
Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans to vent heat and humidity outside. Caution: don't use exhaust fans any longer then necessary or they can blow out all the cooled air in your home.
Close off air registers in unused rooms and set the AC to the air recirculation option. Recirculation allows the AC to draw in and cool air from inside the home instead of using excess energy to draw in and cool the hot and humid outside air.
Make sure that the area around the AC unit is not blocked. A radius of two feet clear of landscaping should help keep it running smoothly.
Consult your local utility company to see if they offer any off peak rates or energy load management programs.

More Information and Additional Resources
For more information on cooling your home in the summer, visit the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy Web site: www.aeee.org. Additional information on home energy savings can be found in the Home Series: Home Cooling booklet available on the Iowa Energy Center's Web site, www.energy.iastate.edu or by calling (515) 294-8819.

The Iowa Energy Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving Iowa's energy efficiency and the use of renewable fuels.