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2010-07-22 13:30:57
How to save energy costs in the summer

How to Save Energy and Lower Your Summer Air Conditioning Bill

C. Jeanne Heida
Published May 26, 2007 by:
C. Jeanne Heida

 

During the summer, electricity bills shoot up as everyone turns on the air conditioning units. Air conditioning usually accounts for almost half your summer power bill, and it makes sense to use it as little as

 possible.

I'm not suggesting you sit around in the heat and swelter, but there are things you can do to keep your house cooler during the summer. Using these tips, our family usually doesn't need the air conditioning until late August. This is when nighttime temperatures are consistently in the high 90s and the house can't be cooled down.

Shade the windows

According to the California Energy Commission, 40% of the unwanted heat in your house comes in through the windows.

The effects of this solar energy can be reduced by covering south and west facing windows during the day. You do this by keeping the curtains shut or arranging blinds so that the light reflects back out the window. In areas of intense exposure, consider hanging a bamboo shade on the outside of the house. A bamboo shade on the outside of a west facing window can lower an interior room temperature by as much as 20 degrees.

If you don't like the look of a bamboo shade or closed curtains, consider installing some reflective window films. These films reflect light and heat back outside where they belong.

Awnings are another alternative. Fabric or metal awning block the sunlight that reaches your windows, and can reduce heat gain by up to 77% on western windows and 65% on southern windows. (source:CEC)

Cool down the exterior

Trees are a terrific way of cooling down the house and surrounding yard. Trees and large shrubs can reduce air temperatures up to 20 degree, while providing shade and reducing water evaporation from your lawn. Hybrid poplar, Tulip poplar, and Weeping Willow are three varieties that grow nearly 8 feet a year.

Consider painting the exterior of your home a lighter color. This helps reflect heat away from the house.

Cooling the interior the old fashioned way

Back in the days before air conditioning, people had other ways to cool down their homes quickly and effectively.

 
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