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Recently we had the first of perhaps several heatwaves in the city. Here are some tips to keep cool and save on energy.

The outdoor air temperature is frequently comfortable, especially at night, but there may be no breeze to bring the cooler air into your apartment. (Buy an outdoor thermometer, a low cost item, and mount it so it's visible from your window. It will tell you when it's cool outside.) When the temperature outside is comfortable use a window fan instead of continuing to use the air conditioner. A fan requires as little as one tenth the energy needed to run an air conditioner. If your air conditioner has an "outside air" control to bring in fresh air use it without turning on the cooling section. The compressor motor in the unit is the big energy user, not the fan. Be sure to close the outside air control when operating the compressor (cooling position) so that the compressor is cooling only room air.

10 Tips to Stay Cool This Summer

  • Raise your Thermostat to 78 This is the number one way to conserve energy- also see the Cool-N-Save an a/c pre-cooling system  which creates a cool zone around your a/c unit so it pulls in cooler air. This means the a/c  works less and so more efficiently. Save up-to 30% on your a/c energy costs.
  • When you are away from home for more than 8 hrs, raise the thermostat setting and you can expect to see a 1% savings for each degree of setback. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat.
  • Keep shades closed when the air conditioning is on. Sunny windows account for 40% of unwanted heat and can make your air conditioner work 2 to 3 times harder.
  • Check and clean filters Cleaning and replacing air conditioning filters monthly allows the system to run more efficiently.
  • Install ceiling fans. Don't underestimate the importance of ceiling fans. Moving air over the body provides a cooling effect. The use of ceiling fans can mean savings of around 25% on cooling costs and can make the temperature seem 10 degrees cooler.
  • Make sure ceiling fans are blowing down. Most fans have a switch to change the fan direction. Make sure ceiling fans are rotating in a counter clockwise direction to send air past your body.
  • Run appliances with large energy use late in the evening. Use the dishwasher and washing machine late in the evening. When used in the day these appliances produce additional heat, causing you air conditioner to work harder. The Kill-a-Watt electricity usage monitor will asses how efficient products really are.
  • Use cold water to wash dishes and clothes. This will save on water heating costs. A Hot Water Gauge thermometer card will tell you if your hot water heater is set too high.
  • Unplug equipment not in use. Electric chargers, televisions and audio/video equipment use electricity and produce heat even when they are not in use. Running an older refrigerator can use up to 3 times the electricity of a modern energy star approved one. Unplug any appliance when it's not in use or use a Belkin Conserve 8 which conveniently minimizes the standby power by enabling you to turn off multiple devices with just one click of the remote switch.
  • Turn off lights Turn lights off when exiting a room. Replace incandescent bulbs with EcoBulb Plus energy efficient CFL's, and remember to recycle CFL's whenever possible
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