Save energy in summer by programming your thermostat
One of the best ways to control your energy usage and utility bills is to pay attention to your thermostat. When you set the temperature lower in winter and higher in summer, you’re taking a big step in regulating how you heat or cool your home.
Take the guess work out of cooling your home with electric fans and air conditioning by installing a programmable thermostat – also called a setback thermostat – which adjusts the energy output on a preset schedule. This may require some adjustment as you move from season to season, but programming the thermostat gives you greater control over your home’s temperature.
Consumer Reports estimated that using a programmable thermostat, or setting one manually yourself, can shave as much as $180 off your annual utility charges. Since the home thermostat controls about 50 percent of your energy use, setting it to reduce heating and cooling when you need it least will lead to this substantial savings.
It’s worth the effort
Homeowners who believe it’s not worth turning up the thermostat when they leave for work each day should consider the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Energy.
The DOE has a temperature-setting schedule for families who spend a good chunk of time at work and school. From early morning until nighttime, the schedule suggests times when the temperature can be adjusted for maximum efficiency. Even if your thermostat isn’t programmable, you can create a schedule for yourself and make adjustments manually.
If you cool your house in the morning with fans or air conditioning, it tends to lose cold air very slowly. You’re using less energy because the thermostat will not turn on the air conditioning until the house reaches a higher temperature. Raising the thermostat at night while you’re sleeping will also make a significant dent in your energy bills.
As autumn approaches, there are going to be some hot days but the nights will turn chilly. Window fans that exhaust hot air during the day and pull in cool air as the temperatures decrease may be enough to cool your home. Whether or not you use air conditioning, fans circulate air to create a cooling effect.
Between seasons, continue to use fans as needed in the rooms that you use most often. Air out unused portions of the house, including basements and attics, by opening a couple of windows to dissipate stale air and release pent-up humidity. Cool only the rooms that are occupied.
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