Ways to Reduce Cooling Costs This Summer
It might surprise you to know that buying a bigger room air conditioning unit won't necessarily make you feel more comfortable
during the hot summer months.
In fact, a room air conditioner that's too big for the area it is supposed to cool will perform less efficiently and less effectively than a
smaller, properly sized unit. This is because room units work better if they run for relatively long periods of time than if they are
continually switching off and on. Longer run times allow air conditioners to maintain a more constant room temperature. Running
longer also allows them to remove a larger amount of moisture from the air, which lowers humidity and, more importantly, makes you
feel more comfortable.
Sizing is equally important for central air conditioning systems, which need to be sized by professionals. If you have a central air
system in your home, set the fan to shut off at the same time as the cooling unit (compressor). In other words, don't use the systems
central fan to provide circulation, but instead use circulating fans in individual rooms.
Tips to Keep Your Cool
Unexpected Money Savers
- Whole house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. They
are effective when operated at night and when the outside air is cooler than the inside.
- Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor
temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. When it is 90 outside, a 78 air conditioner setting can feel very
- Don't set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home
any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
- Set the fan speed on high except in very humid weather. When it's humid, set the fan speed on low. You'll get better cooling,
and slower air movement through the cooling equipment allows
it to remove more moisture from the air, resulting in greater comfort.
- Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively
through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
- Don't place lamps or television sets near your air conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances,
which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
- Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units but do not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses less
electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
You can save as much as ten percent a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back ten to 15
degrees for eight hours each day. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or
Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the air conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. As a
result, you don't operate the equipment as much when you are asleep or when the house or part of the house is not occupied.
- Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can
manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program. When shopping for a programmable thermostat, be
sure to look for the Energy Star label.
And Even More Ideas...
For more information on cooling, contact:
- Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute 703-524-8800 or www.ari.org
- Energy Star 888-782-7937 or www.energystar.com
- U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse 800-363-3732 or
This article was excerpted from Energy Savers: Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home. For details on
how to obtain a copy of Energy Savers, click here.