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Your Home Environment Resource - University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Household Hints & HELP!

Conserving Energy - Summer

submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appears in the July 11, 2004 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.

Summers in Nebraska can be hot and humid. Energy conservation is important all year and there all many ways in which we can save energy in heating and cooling our home. Heating and cooling accounts for 44 percent of the typical utility bill for a home. By being aware of simple tips and energy saving ideas one can decrease their bills and still live comfortably.

The U.S. Department of Energy gives these suggestions for conserving energy.

Set your thermostat as high as is comfortable in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. Programmable thermostats can help you save as much as 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills by turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 percent for 8 hours. With this type of thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. Programable thermostats are not expensive and will pay for themselves in a short amount of time.

Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans wisely. In just one-hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of cooled or warmed air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job.

During the cooling season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.

Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power usage.

A ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about four degrees F with no reduction in comfort. It is helpful to install a fan in each room that needs to be cooled.

Donít place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.

Plant trees or shrubs to shade air-conditioning units but not to block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10 percent less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.

If you wish to ventilate your home naturally these suggestions can be helpful.

  • Learn how air flows naturally through your home.
  • Take advantage of cool night air and ventilate your home by natural or mechanical methods.
  • Keep a clear path for airflow both inside and outside your windows.
  • Close windows, doors, and window coverings in the morning before your home starts to heat up.
  • Avoid producing heat in your home when it's hot outside.
  • Wear cool clothing.

Take time to check your home for ways you can conserve energy and use good common sense when heating and cooling.

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