1. Clean or change your air conditioner filters monthly. Dirty filters can increase operating costs for your air-conditioning unit by as much as 20 percent.
2. Set your thermostat at the highest comfortable setting. Turn the thermostat up higher when you are more sedentary.
3. Use a ceiling or portable fan to supplement your cooling system. One fan can make you feel 3 to 4 degrees cooler and costs only half a cent per hour to operate.
4. Close your blinds, drapes and shades during the hottest parts of the day to keep the sun from heating your home.
5. Take advantage of cool mornings and evenings; turn your air conditioner off, open your windows and let the outside air cool your house. Don't forget to close the windows as the temperature gets warm.
6. Avoid generating large amounts of heat with cooking appliances, which work against your cooling system by adding extra heat to your house. Use a microwave oven or counter top appliances instead of your stove top or oven. Better yet, cook outside on a grill.
7. Hang your laundry outside to dry instead of using your gas or electric dryer. This saves you money two ways; you eliminate the cost of power needed to operate the dryer and reduce the heat you generate inside your home.
8. Use fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs in your home. Fluorescent use significantly less energy and produce much less heat.
9. Take advantage of the summer sun and use solar lighting in place of traditional electric lighting in your landscape.
10. Use smart landscaping to shade your house from the sun's rays. Plant trees on the east and west sides of your home and plant shrubbery close to the foundation.
Evaluate power usage around your home. There are changes you can make. You just have to be willing to make a small effort. Start now and reduce the amount of money you give to the power company every month!
Sherri Allen is the editor of an online publication featuring topics such as family, food, home, garden and money. For great tips, resources, articles, recipes, reviews and coloring pages, visit
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