Summer Cooling Bills Making You HOT?

There are a couple of months left of hot temperatures and it is never too late to try to save a little on the utility cooling bills.

“During the summers in Oklahoma, the air conditioning in a home typically uses more than half of the monthly electricity,” said Scott Frazier, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension bio-systems and agricultural engineering renewable energy engineer. “Therefore, we need to consider if there are savings possibilities.”

Frazier suggests the following for saving energy dollars:

  • Set the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Studies show for every degree the thermostat is set below 78 degrees, the air conditioner uses 3 percent to 5 percent more energy. If the thermostat is set at 68 degrees in the summer, the energy usage will be 30 percent to 50 percent more than if it was left at 78 degrees.
  • If the home will be unattended for seven hours to eight hours, turn the thermostat up by as much at 5 degrees.
  • Thermostat placement is important. Make sure the sun does not shine directly on the thermostat. Also make sure it is attached to a wall that does not have hot or cold air running through it. Typically it should be placed on an interior wall in the vicinity of return ducts.
  • Make sure air conditioning filters are new or clean. Dirty filters can effectively shut down the air conditioning and can harm the air conditioning equipment as well.

“Multi-floor homes can run just the air conditioning fan for periods of time to better mix the cool downstairs and warm upstairs,” he said. “This is preferable to long air conditioning run times when the upstairs is warm and the lower floor is cold.”

A general rule is not to close more than 20 percent of the air vents in the home. The air conditioning system is designed to circulate a certain volume of air.

Frazier said closing off too many ducts unbalances the system and might damage the compressor components.

“Houses that have air leaks around windows and doors are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to cooling costs,” he said. “Quite simply, any wind will replace the cooled interior air with hot and possibly humid outdoor air. This in turn causes the air conditioner to run longer hours.”

Additional tips on saving energy in the home can be found at the following Web sites: http://www.acceee.org/consumerguide/

http://bioen.okstate.edu/Home/robert.frazier/hometips.pdf

http://bioen.okstate.edu/Home/robert.frazier/index.html

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