Keeping it Cool: Worth Your Time and Energy

Turning down the temperature on your air conditioner isn’t the only solution for keeping your house cool. Here are some easy ways, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the U.S. Department of Energy, to stay comfortable during the warm months, while also reducing your home energy bill.

Draw your shades. Simply closing curtains and blinds and keeping sunlight out during the day can help preserve cooler temperatures indoors.

Prevent leakage. To keep cool air in and warm air out, use weather-stripping and caulking to seal leaks in windows and doors.

Invest in ceiling fans. A ceiling fan cools people but not rooms, so turn it off when you leave a room. Using a ceiling fan while you’re in the room allows you to raise the thermostat about 4 degrees while still feeling cool. Set the fan so it moves counterclockwise, which will pull up the cooler air from the ground and blow it back on you. Switch the fan direction in the winter, which will better circulate warm air.

Choose Energy Star. Energy Star appliances are the way to go. For example, air conditioners use about 15 percent less energy than non-Energy Star models, and Energy Star ceiling fan/lighting combinations are 60 percent more efficient than conventional fan/light units.

Maintain your cooling system and operate it efficiently. Get regular maintenance done on your air conditioner. Be sure you’re always using a licensed contractor for any professional work on your air conditioning system; visit the Contractors State License Board’s website to check the status of a license. Avoid placing lamps or TVs next to your thermostats, which sense the heat and cause your A/C to run longer than it needs to. Also, vacuum the wall vents to remove dust, and make sure furniture and other objects are not blocking vents.

Use your thermostat wisely. Keep your house warmer when you’re out, and when you’re home, keep the thermostat at no lower than 78 degrees.

Avoid generating indoor heat. Minimize the use of appliances that create heat; for example, don’t use the oven, only wash full loads of dishes and clothes, and only use efficient lighting.

For more information about keeping cool during warmer months, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website at and the NRDC’s website at


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