- When you shower or take a bath, use the bathroom fan to remove the heat and humidity from your home. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside (not just to the attic).
- Seal any holes with caulking or spray foam where TV/cable wires, pipes, ductwork or vents enter or exit your home.
- Caulk and weather-strip around windows and door frames to prevent air leakage.
- Consider planting trees and shrubs in strategic locations to help reduce the temperature and airflow in your house. Deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides of your home help to keep the house shaded during the summer’s peak heating times.
- Install a door sweep on the door to your garage to seal the gap between the bottom of your door and the threshold. This prevents warm air from coming in and cool air from escaping your home.
- Install awnings on south- and west-facing windows. Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows to reduce solar gain.
- Check to see that windows and doors are closed when heating or cooling your home.
- Building a new home is the best time to design and orient the home to take advantage of the sun’s rays. A well-oriented home lets in the winter sun in south-facing windows to reduce heating bills, and blocks the heat from summer sun to reduce cooling bills.
- Keep lights off in vacant rooms.
- Use large appliances in the early morning and late evening.
- Open the windows and use a fan on cooler days.
- Dress appropriately for the warmer indoor temperatures.
Room air conditioners
- Buying a bigger room air conditioner won’t necessarily make you feel more comfortable during the hot summer months. In fact, a room air conditioner that’s too big for the area it is supposed to cool, will perform less efficiently and less effectively than a smaller, properly-sized unit.
- Consider replacing your old central air conditioner if it is more than 10 years old with an ENERGY STAR® air conditioner. You could save up to 50% on the electricity used to run it.
- ENERGY STAR® air conditioners use 10% less energy than other new air conditioners.
- Install the room air conditioner in a north-facing or shaded window; direct sunlight makes the motor and compressor work harder. Remove and store the air conditioner during the winter rather than keeping it in the window.
- Remove and clean your room air conditioner filters monthly. Dirty filters reduce the efficiency of the air conditioner. Look for a room air conditioner with a filter that slides out easily for regular cleaning.
- Make sure the “fresh air” vent on the air conditioner is closed so you are not cooling outside air.
- If you have a central air system in your home, set the fan to shut off at the same time as the compressor, which is usually done by setting the “auto” mode on the fan setting. In other words, don’t use the system’s central fan to provide air circulation – use circulating fans in individual rooms.
- Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
- If you have window air conditioners, turn them off when a room will be vacant for a few hours. You'll use less energy cooling the room down later than if you had left the unit running.
- Use a fan in conjunction with your window air conditioner.
- Don't place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. Heat from these items is sensed by the thermostat and could cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
- Turn off fans when you leave the room. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.
- Use ceiling fans or other circulating fans, (such as table and floor fans) to improve your comfort level and reduce air conditioning costs.
- Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
- Use kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans sparingly. These fans can blow away a house full of heated or cooled air in an hour.