It's getting warmer every day, and that means people around the country are soon going to start firing up their air conditioners -- and increasing the size of their monthly energy bills.
But your energy bills don't need to go up, and neither do your costs -- not if you act in a smart, and green, manner to get ready for the summer.
The EPA has published a nice list of energy-saving tips that let you use, and improve, the devices in your home to make sure you getting the most cool for your buck, while reducing your environmental impact.
Check 'em out:
- Set your programmable thermostat to save while you are away or asleep. Using it properly can save up to $180 per year in energy costs.
- Run ceiling fans in a clockwise direction to create a wind-chill effect that will make you ?feel? cooler. Remember that ceiling fans cool people, not rooms -- so turn them off when you leave the room.
- Inspect your duct system for obvious signs of leaks and disconnections (most houses leak 20 percent or more). Seal any leaks with foil tape or a special sealant called ?duct mastic.? Also consider insulating ducts in unconditioned areas (like the attic, basement or crawlspace).
- Seal air leaks around your home to keep the heat out and the cool air in. The biggest air leaks are usually found in the attic or basement, but also come in around doors, windows, vents, pipes and electrical outlets. Use caulk, spray foam or weather stripping to seal the leaks. And add more insulation to keep your home cooler this summer.
- Maintain your cooling system. Check your system?s air filter every month at a minimum and change the filter every 3 months. Remove leaves, dirt and other debris from around the outdoor components to improve air flow and efficiency. Have a qualified professional tune-up your system with a pre-season maintenance checkup and, if it?s time to replace your old system, look for models that have earned EPA?s Energy Star.
- Turn off office lights and equipment when not in use so they don?t generate unnecessary heat.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs in your desk lamp with Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs which use two-thirds less energy and generate less heat than conventional bulbs.
These ideas don't require a lot of work on investment on your part, so it's a nice checklist to "green" your home before it gets much hotter.
What are you waiting for? Summer is just around the corner...