1. Money

Top 6 Home Cooling Steps

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Running your air conditioner during the summer months can raise your energy bill quite significantly. Learn how to save money while air conditioning your home to a nice cool temperature.

1. Keep the Filter Clean

A dusty filter reduces air flow. Examine the unit's air filters once a month and clean or replace filters when necessary. Keeping your filters clean can cut the energy used 5 to 15%. Keep heat-producing appliances, such as televisions or lamps, away from the thermostat. The heat they produce can fool your thermostat into continuing to cool. Extra: If you are looking to replace your thermostat, you may want to choose one that offers a warning LED each month to remind you to change the filter.

2. Maintain the Ducts and Vents

If you are using a central air conditioning unit, make sure the air ducts are properly insulated, especially those that pass through the attic or any other unconditioned areas. You may want to have a specialist check for holes or leaks in the ducts. Duct tape can offer a temporary repair, but you will want to have any holes or leaks properly fixed. Make sure furniture does not obstruct air conditioning vents. Close off unused rooms and close vents in those rooms.

3. Check for Household Leaks

Make sure air isn't escaping through unnecessary openings such as fireplace dampers, doors and windows. Take a good look at the seals around doors and windows to see if weather stripping or caulk needs to be applied.

4. What You Do Around the House

Natural light is great, but the sun's heat can raise the temperature in your home. Make sure blinds and drapes are closed to help reduce the sun's thermal heat. If you are intent on letting the light in, install reflective film on the windows to block some of the heat. You also want to reserve heat and humidity producing tasks like cooking and doing the laundry to early morning or late evening.

5. Use Your Fans

Fans can also help cool your home. No one is saying that a fan can replace your air conditioner, but they can give supplemental cooling. Substituting fans for air conditioners on milder days can save 60% or more in energy costs. Appropriately setting the fan on your air conditioner can help you save as well. Set the fan speed on high except in very humid weather. This helps push cool air around the house.

6. Set the Thermostat to the Best Temperature

Turning your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit is the best setting for your air conditioner during warmer months. Reducing your home's temperature 72 degrees Fahrenheit could increase your cooling costs 12 to 47 percent. Also remember, setting it really low at first will not help your home cool faster. It will use more energy and if your forget to adjust it, you will be running far less efficiently than you think.

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