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Keeping Cool This Summer

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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With warm weather approaching and the thought of keeping the house cool, it is time to check your air conditioner and have it ready for the really warm weather. The US Department of Energy gives some energy saving cooling tips.

Keep your cooling system well tuned. Periodic maintenance by a professional is a good idea. Make sure the ducts in your air-conditioning system are properly sealed and insulated.

When cooling with or without air-conditioning:

  • Keep out daytime sun by closing drapes or blinds.
  • Keep lights low or off.
  • Do your cooking and use other heat-generating appliances in the early morning and late evening hours whenever possible.
  • Open the windows instead of using your air conditioner or electric fan on cooler days.
  • Dress for the warmer indoor temperatures.
  • Do not place lamps and TV’s near air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.

Without-air conditioning:

  • Keep windows and outside doors closed during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Use window or whole-house ventilating fans to cool the house when it's cool outside.
  • Use vents and exhaust fans to pull heat and moisture from the attic, kitchen and laundry directly to the outside.

When using air-conditioning:

  • Set your thermostat as high as possible, 78 degrees is recommended as a reasonably comfortable and energy-efficient indoor temperature.
  • Set the fan speed on high except in very humid weather. When it's humid, set the fan speed low; you'll get less cooling, but more moisture will be removed from the air.
  • Clean or replace air-conditioning filters at least once a month.
  • Turn off window air-conditioning when you leave a room from several hours.

Keep in mind these energy saving tips and take steps to reduce the energy usage in your home. If you are thinking of purchasing new appliances or cooling equipment look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels.

Ask Lorene

(This resource was updated March 2007 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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