How to Save
Energy and Stay Cool
By Steven Boaze
While most of the United States is under a heatwave, other locations around the
globe are feeling the impact of high costs regarding utilities.
What I'm about to give you, is from 28 years experience of HVAC (Heating
Ventilation & Air conditioning) in the residential, commercial and Industrial
Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars
than any other system in your home. Typically, 44% of your utility bill goes for
heating and cooling. What's more, heating and cooling systems in the United
States together omit over half billion tons of carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere each year, adding to global warming. They also generate about 24% of
the nitrogen oxides, the chief ingredients in acid rain.
No matter what kind of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system you
have in your house, you can save money and increase comfort by properly
maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, an energy efficient
furnace/air conditioner alone will not have as great an impact on your energy
bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment
maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, weatherization, and
thermostat settings, you can cut your energy bills and your pollution output in
It might surprise you to know that buying a bigger room air- conditioner unit
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
This is because room units work better if they run for relatively long periods
of time than if they continually switching off and on. Longer run times allow
air conditioners to maintain a more constant room temperature.
Sizing is equally important for central air-conditioning systems, which need to
be sized by professionals. If you have a central air system in your home, set
the fan to shut off at the same time as the cooling unit (compressor). In other
words, don't use the system's central fan to provide circulation, but instead
use circulating fans in individual rooms.
Whole-house fans help cool your home or apartment by pulling cool air through
the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. They are effective when
operating at night and when the outside air is cooler than the inside.
Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer- especially
during very hot days. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor
temperatures, the lower your overall bill will be.
Do Not set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your
air conditioner. It will not cool your home or apartment any faster and could
result in excessive cooling, and therefore, unnecessary expense.
Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air-conditioner
to spread the cooled air more effectively through the rooms without greatly
increasing your power usage.
Do Not place lamps or TV sets near your air conditioning thermostat. the
thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air
conditioner to run longer than necessary.
Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but not to block the
airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than
the same one operating in the sun.
You can save as much as 10% a year on your home heating and cooling bills by
simply turning your thermostat back 10% to 15% for 8 hours. You can do this
automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or
Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the time you turn on the heating
or air conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. As a result, you don't
operate the equipment as much when you're asleep or when the house or part of
the house is not occupied.
Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or
more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without
affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.
Windows can be one of your home's most attractive features. They provide views,
day lighting, ventilation, and solar heating in the winter. Unfortunately, they
can also account for 10% to 25% of your utility bill. During the summer, sunny
windows make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.
Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the
glass window on the house or apartment. Close curtains on south and west facing
windows. Apply sun-control films on south-facing windows to reduce solar gain.
Clean or replace filters once a month or as needed. Seal and/or insulate all
ductwork associated with the system. Keep your fireplace (if any) damper closed.
Caulk cracks around windows and doors. Use fluorescent lamps which are much more
efficient than incandescent bulbs and last 6 to 10 times longer. Turn off lights
in any room you're not using. Open windows when possible to ventilate at night.
These are fundamental and basic energy saving tips you can do to live in a cool
comfortable environment while operating your cooling system. By working all
these principles, and staying cool during the "Dog Days" of summer, you'll be
saving energy at the same time.
Steven Boaze, Chairman, is The Owner of Boaze.com
Corporate Web Solutions. Steven is the Author of two successful Books,
thousands of articles featured in radio, magazines newspapers and trade
journals. Steven has 25 years experience in journalism, copywriting, certified