Save Energy While Keeping Your Cool

During the dog days of summer, we expend considerable amounts of energy (and dollars) trying to keep our homes cool. Here are 12 no-cost or low-cost ways to save energy while keeping cool this summer.


Cooling With Air Conditioners

1. Keep the thermostat at 78F or higher. A 78F temperature setting is reasonably comfortable and energy efficient. It can save you approximately 15% or more on cooling costs over a 72F setting.

2. Setting the thermostat to a colder than normal setting will not cool your house any faster. You'll simply overshoot the desired temperature and waste energy.

3. Turn off your air conditioner when you're going to be gone for several hours and keep solar heat out by pulling the shades and blinds. Re-cooling the house when you return will take less energy than keeping it cool while you're gone.

4. Keep lamps and other heat generating devices away from the thermostat, otherwise the thermostat may sense the heat and keep the air conditioner running longer than necessary. 5. Service your central air conditioning unit annually when you have your furnace checked for the cold season. Make sure to replace filters at least once per month.


6. Clean and vacuum the grills, coils and cooling fans on outside units and keep them clear of leaves, debris and other obstructions. Window units should fit tightly into the window's frames.

7. Avoid running the dehumidifier while the air conditioner is working. It will increase the cooling load and cause the air conditioner to work harder.

General Cool Tips

8. Keep the sun's heat out by keeping shades and blinds closed during daytime hours. Installing retractable awnings can reduce window heat gain by as much as 90% while still letting light in.

9. Create shade for your home by landscaping with trees. About half of unwanted summer heat comes from sun shining through windows. Strategically placed shade trees on the east and west sides of your home can reduce air conditioning bills by up to 25%.


11. Leave storm windows on in rooms with air conditioning and in rooms with windows that don't need to be opened. They will help keep the heat outside.

12. Create cross-ventilation. Place a fan in a window (blowing inward) on the cool side of the house. This will help push hot air outside, while it pulls cooler air in to the house.

11. Delay all heat generating activities, like using the stove and dishwasher, until the evening hours when temperatures are cooler.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at

July 11, 20060 found this helpful

Some people open the windows during part of the day, then close up the house and start the AC.

We were told by our AC tech that this actually uses MORE energy to remove the humidity thereby costing more in electricity bills.

It is better to keep the house at a constant temp without letting in humidity.

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June 29, 20090 found this helpful

If You have no ac Put ice cubes in a large ziploc bag and string it up in back of your fans and it will really keep you cool speaking of cutting cost this is a life saver for the elderly!

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