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Save Money Keeping Your Cool In Summer

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    Save Money Keeping Your Cool In Summer

    Ways To Save $ And Beat The Summer Heat

    The summer heat is here in full force and that means BBQs, swimming pools and higher energy bills as you try to keep your cool. The good news is that if you apply a few common sense, ideas and solutions to tackle the heat, that energy bill doesn't have to be near as high as it has been in the past.

    The first place to begin is to go directly to the source and give your air conditioner the once over. Spending a little on prevention up front can save a bundle down the road. If you haven't had someone come by to give your air conditioner a check-up in awhile, it is time to do so. Make sure that the coils are cleaned, there is plenty of refrigerant and check that all the filters are clean and don't need to be replaced.

    If your air conditioner is more than a few years old, it may be time to replace it. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that half of the average home's energy bill comes from heating and cooling. Purchasing a new air conditioner and heating equipment with an EPA approved Energy Star rating label can reduce your overall energy bill anywhere from 10 to 40 percent and replacing an air conditioner 10 years old can cut your cooling costs by up to half.

    The next step is to update you home's cooling control panel. If you don't already have a programmable thermostat, it's time to invest in one since this investment will usually pay itself off in well under a year and as quickly as a few months. Constantly adjusting your thermostat not only makes it difficult for you to get comfortable, it wastes a lot of energy. A programmable thermostat will keep your home at your desired temperature much more efficiently than you can do by hand. It also allows you to turn off the air conditioner when you aren't at home and begin cooling down the house even before you arrive back home. In addition, purchasing a ceiling fan can also be a wise investment. It will allow you to use your air conditioner less in the cooler morning and evening hours, and will help spread the cool air throughout the room when you are using it.

    The landscaping around you house will directly effect you energy bill. Rock, asphalt and cement in non shaded areas around the south or west sides of your house will increase your energy costs since those materials will raise the level of heat around your home. The Department of Energy estimates that replacing those materials with deciduous trees (they provide shade in the summer when they're in full bloom and sun in the winter when their leaves have fallen) can save you $100 to $250 a year in cooling and heating costs. In addition, you want to make sure that your landscaping provides shade for your air conditioning unit, but with enough free space so that air flow is not impeded.

    For areas that can't be shaded by landscaping, make sure that rooms that get direct sunlight have curtains or shades that can be drawn shut during the day. It may also be worth the investment to treat south facing windows with heat reflecting films.

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    Another major cause of rising heat in our home is the use of appliances. Running your dishwasher, oven, washer and dryer will all increase the heat inside your house making your air conditioner work that much harder. Save these activities for the cooler evening or early morning hours whenever possible. Lights that give off heat, TVs and stereos also will increase the temperature in the house so reducing their use will save you money. It's important that any of these electrical devices is not placed near your thermostat since the thermostat can sense the heat given off by them which will cause your air conditioner to work harder than it needs to.

    Escaping cool air can also be a major problem in keeping you comfortable and not making your air conditioner work harder than it needs to. Caulking air leaks in doors and window frames will be well worth the investment. In the same sense, close the cooling vents in rooms that are rarely used as well as the room doors. Also keep all your closet doors closed since there is no need to spend the money cooling the areas of the house that you are not using.

    Opening and shutting doors to the outside can significantly increase your cooling costs. If you have pets, consider installing a pet door to save energy. Holding doors open for pets while they make up their mind whether to go out or stay in increases the load on your air conditioner. This activity can be extra costly in summer since people often lower their thermostat to combat the humidity that comes in. It also pays to carefully use your ventilating fans in the kitchen, bathroom and other areas. Leaving these on can suck out an entire houseful of cooled air in an hour, so be sure to turn them off after they have done their job.

    As you can see, staying comfortable during the summer heat doesn't have to mean a large energy bill in the mail. Use the hints provided to help reduce your cooling costs and stay comfortable for a fraction of what it has been costing you. That is definitely the way to keep your cool.