The hottest days of summer remind us that poor energy habits can make our house uncomfortable. It's never too late to make a few changes around the house to help keep things cool. A bonus: You could lower your energy bill during air-conditioner season.
- Check for loose or leaky window panes. And notice if your home still has single-pane windows: They're typically so energy inefficient that they allow cool air to escape from your home during the summer and hot air to escape in the winter. Replacing old, inefficient windows now is an investment that will pay for itself in energy savings all year round - and keep your home comfortable, too.
- If you're still using your old stash of incandescent light bulbs in lamps and overhead fixtures, it's time to make the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs or LED fixtures. Both are far more energy efficient than old-fashioned light bulbs. One reason: Incandescent bulbs produce more heat than light. And that can compete with the job your air conditioning system is trying to do during the summer.
- When air conditioner filters get dirty, they get clogged - and the air can't flow freely through them. That forces your a/c to work harder. Replace your dirty air filters once a month during cooling season.
- Install a programmable thermostat, which automatically adjusts the temperature so you use less energy to cool your home when no one is there. The device can save you up to $100 a year on cooling and heating bills.
- Move appliances and lamps away from your thermostat. Because they emit heat, they can trick your thermostat into "thinking" that the house is warmer than it really is - and to work harder to cool it off more it needs.