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Monday, June 29, 2009

Five simple summer tips to save you money and energy

From a news release issued by Focus on Energy:

As temperatures creep higher, so do energy bills.

Fortunately, Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, has a number of simple tips to get your home ready for summer — saving you energy and money. The following are Focus on Energy’s top five tips for keeping your cool this summer:

1. Install a Programmable Thermostat. These help save money and keep homes
comfortable by automatically adjusting temperature settings while the homeowner is asleep or away. A tip for getting savings is to set it five degrees higher in the summer when the house is unoccupied for eight hours or more. Homeowners can save about $100 a year by properly setting their programmable thermostats and maintaining those settings.
2. Replace an Outdated Cooling System. When replacing an air conditioner it’s important to look for the ENERGY STAR®, as these units can use up to 14 percent less energy than standard models. Also, consider a timer for window units. Set the timer for a half hour before you return home so it’s not running when no one is there.
3. Install a Ceiling Fan. Used in combination with your air conditioner, ceiling fans allow you to raise your thermostat setting by as much as four degrees without reducing your comfort. However, be sure to turn the fan off when you’re not in the room to save energy — ceiling fans cool people, not rooms.
4. Replace standard bulbs with CFLs. Turning off lights when you are not using them helps to keep a room cool, but another tip is to replace standard light bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs — they produce about 75 percent less heat, which helps cut energy costs associated with home cooling. Additionally, replacing your five most used light bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs can save at least $35 a year.
5. Install Window Treatments. Shut out the hot summer sun by closing windows and pulling shades or curtains on south- and west-facing windows. This helps to reduce the amount of solar heat coming through the windows.

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