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Sizzling summer energy savings

A hot home and high energy bills can take away from summer fun. Here are some tips to prepare your home for high summer temperatures. 

Service your A/C unit: Air conditioning units work by moving air over fins or coils that contain refrigerant. When the coils or fins get dirty, the unit doesn’t work as well and uses more energy. Clean the filter, coils and fins. If you are tackling this yourself, always disconnect power to the unit. Central A/C systems have two sets of coils, one inside and one outside, that should be cleaned annually. 

Seal your window A/C unit: If you have a window or portable A/C unit that vents through a window, seal the area between the window sashes. 

Thermostat settings: Keep your thermostat at the highest comfortable temperature. If you aren’t home during the day, increase your thermostat 8 to 10 degrees. 

Keep your cool: Before adjusting the thermostat, turn on a fan in the room you’re in, change into lighter clothing and drink something cool. This may be enough to make you comfortable. 

Lock windows: After opening your windows at night or in the morning to let in fresh air, close and lock them to reduce air gaps. If your locks don’t form a tight fit, add weatherstripping. 

Weatherstripping and curtains: Add weatherstripping to windows, and curtains you can close during the hottest times of the day to block out the sun. 

Cook al fresco: Keep your home cool or your A/C from working overtime by cooking outside. 

Add insulation: Even in the summer, adding insulation can keep your home more comfortable and save energy used by your air conditioning system. 

Turn off gas fireplaces: If you have a gas fireplace, your pilot light lets off a small amount of heat, so turn it off during summer months.

MIRANDA BOUTELLE writes on energy efficiency for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

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