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Hot weather is not only uncomfortable, it’s bad for your health.
Fortunately, you can maximize comfort and save on cooling costs during even the hottest weather by developing wise habits. Start with these nine tips to keep cool:
Before the hot weather starts, you should make sure your cooling system is clean and well-maintained. A professional should inspect it every year.
If the system is over 15 years old, you might consider replacing it with a newer model, preferably one with an ENERGY STAR rating.
Check your home for air leaks. The better sealed the house, the less it loses cool air or is infiltrated by warm air. You should check for gaps in caulking around the house, and reseal where necessary. Also check the weather-stripping on your doors and windows to make sure they’re airtight.
You should also have a professional repair and seal any leaky ductwork. Air loss through ducts accounts for about 30 percent of a cooling system’s energy consumption.
Where forced air cooling systems are in use, it’s important to ensure that the filters are changed regularly to help optimize energy efficiency.
Controlling air flow is a cost-effective way to moderate temperatures. If nights are cool, you can turn off their air conditioner and open your windows and balconies to lower indoor temperatures. During the day, you can shut doors and windows to trap cool air inside.
As the sun rises higher during the day, you can draw your curtains and shut your blinds to keep the sunshine out. This can reduce heat gain by 45 percent. You could consider installing exterior window coverings to keep out the sunshine. Air conditioning vents should be kept clear of blockages caused by drapes or furniture.
Another tip is to minimize running appliances and equipment that generate a lot of heat, like stoves, computers, dishwashers, curling irons or hair dryers. Barbecuing is a tasty alternative to running your stove.
Ceiling fans allow you to set thermostats about 4° F higher with no reduction in comfort.
Programmable thermostats can automatically turn down the air conditioning at night or when the home is not occupied, saving energy and money when lower temperatures are unnecessary.
A ductless cooling system with zoned control is a good investment to consider. Zoned control allows you to set the temperature of each room individually rather than having to keep the entire house at the same level.
Keeping cool in hot weather is not complicated. It just needs good home maintenance, common sense and a well-functioning cooling system.
U.S. Department of Energy - Spring and Summer Saving Tips
U.S. Department of Energy - Saving Energy During Summer
U.S. Department of Energy - Home Cooling 101 (PDF Download)
ENWIN Utilities - Heating and Cooling
This article and its content are sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric US Inc., Cooling & Heating Division.