Blogs > Power to the People

Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Chill Out, Connecticut

Until recently, giving tips on how to reduce the potentially budget busting costs of cooling your home this summer seemed like a pointless exercise.

But now we've traded in the unseasonably cool conditions that lingered through much of June for the muggy weather which July and August are best known, the state's Office of Consumer Protection is offering the following suggestions:

  • Do something shady: When installing window units, choose a shady spot to increase efficiency up to 10 percent.

  • Look for the label: Look for Energy Star-qualified models if you;re buying a new air conditioning unit. Models that carry that label are rated based on their ability to operate efficiently.

  • Don't max out: Start at medium rather than setting the air conditioner to a maximum cool setting immediately when you turn it on. It won't cool the room any faster, but it will certainly use more energy.

  • Early or late, either is great: Don't use your household appliances until early morning or late evening. That way, the air conditioner won't have to work as hard to offset the heat produced by the appliances.

  • Take good care of my baby: Maintain your air conditioner. Dirty, clogged filters increase energy use. Clean the filter on window and central air conditioners monthly or as needed by vacuuming and washing. Outside, keep plants and shrubs at least 2 feet from the condenser.

  • Dim all the lights, sweet darlin': Common incandescent light bulbs emit a great deal of heat. Turn off unnecessary lights in your home. Also consider replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights. They use about 75 percent less energy and give off 75 percent less heat than incandescent bulbs.

  • I'm your biggest fan: When the outside air is cooler than that inside your home, fans can come in handy. Vent fans draw in the cool air and exhaust the hot air. Window fans are inexpensive to operate and easy to install. To boost the chimney effect in which warm air rises and vents naturally, place one fan blowing in on the ground floor, and another one blowing out on the floor above.


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