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How to get more out of your air conditioning at home

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HARTFORD — The summer heat is here, but it can be hard to stay cool and save money.  What’s the best way to do more with what you have?

Air conditioners use about 5% of all the electricity in the United States and can make your electric bill spike. In order to keep your costs down, The U.S. Department of Energy has tips for how to cool your home more efficiently.

  • A programmable thermostat can help you save up to 10% a year for both cooling and heating costs.
  • Starting with a colder temperature initially will not cool your home faster and only results in wasting energy.
  • If it’s cool at night, open the windows and turn off the A/C. Closing them in the morning will trap the cool air inside and make it easier to cool the home during the warm part of the day.
  • A ceiling fan can help cool things down by about 4 degrees, but you can use less air conditioning and still reach the same desired temperature.

You home itself can also make a big difference. Insulating and sealing the ducts in your home will help you keep cool air in and warm air out. Air loss in the ducts accounts for 30% of the energy consumption in a HVAC system. Energy efficient window coverings will let light but not the heat into the house. If you don’t have those, it’s a good idea to keep your shades down while running the A/C. And don’t forget to take care of your A/C. Cleaning the filters in the unit can drop the cost of energy by more than 5%.

Cooking outside can also keep your home cooler, so try firing up the grill. But, make sure to stay away from wire-bristled brushes. Here’s why.

Do you have any at-home tips to keeping cool? Let us know, email

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