Save Energy While Staying Cool This Summer
Using an air conditioner isn’t the only answer to beating the heat during brutal DC summers. There are a lot of ways to keep your home cool besides resorting to energy intensive (and energy bill-raising) air conditioners. Check out these tips to help you to keep cool and save energy this summer.
- Take advantage of those rare times when it’s cooler outside and open your windows instead of using air conditioning. Use a window fan, blowing toward the outside, to pull cool air in through other windows and to push hot air out.
- When it’s warmer outside than inside, close your windows and then draw window coverings against direct sunlight.
- Delay heat-producing tasks, such as dishwashing, baking, or doing laundry, until the cooler evening or early morning hours.
- Caulk around window and door frames, use weather stripping on exterior doors, and have a professional seal any gaps where air can travel between the attic and your living space.
- Use your bath fan to remove heat and moisture generated by showers.
- If your kitchen range hood fan exhausts to the outdoors, use it to remove hot air while cooking.
- Use energy-efficient lighting in your home. CFL and LED light bulbs are cooler when they are on and cost less to operate because most of their energy produces light instead of heat. Incandescent light bulbs, on the other hand, lose 90% of their energy as heat.
- Now is a great time to make home improvements that can reduce both cooling and heating costs and make your home more comfortable all year. A DC Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® contractor can find and fix the causes of high energy bills, uncomfortably hot or cold/drafty rooms, moisture and air quality problems, ice dams, and more. Get started with a DC Home Performance project in your home today.
Sometimes there’s no escaping the summertime heat in the District without turning on your air conditioner. Here are some helpful tips for purchasing and maintaining your ENERGY STAR room air conditioner:
- When buying air conditioners, choose the smallest ENERGY STAR qualified unit appropriate for the size of the room you’re cooling. Too big a model not only costs more to operate but also can make a room uncomfortably clammy because oversized equipment can’t remove humidity as effectively. See the guide at right to help you select the right size air conditioner for a room in your house. Here are some other factors to consider when choosing your room air conditioner:
- If the room is very sunny, increase the size by 10%. If it is very shady, decrease the size by 10%.
- If more than two people regularly occupy the room, add 600 BTUs per hour for each additional person to the size selected.
- If your room air conditioner is intended for use in a kitchen, increase size by 4,000 BTUs per hour.
- Keep outside air from leaking in by seeing that there are no gaps along the sides of your window air conditioner or between window sashes.
- Remember to clean air conditioner filters regularly and keep the front and back of air conditioners unobstructed.