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Decorative ImageIt’s official. The summer heat is here. As temperatures rise, so does your home’s energy usage. Fortunately, there are many ways to stay cool this summer, while saving money. Combat high energy usage and lower your bill with the following tips:

Maintain air filters and HVAC equipment 
Well-maintained equipment runs more efficiently, so replace or clean filters as needed. Units that are overcharged or have low coolant levels will cost you more in the long run. Be sure to have your air conditioning unit serviced every 1-2 years. 

Set your thermostat as high as is comfortable 
The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. Setting your thermostat at the recommended temperature of 78°F instead of 72°F can save 6-18% on your cooling bill. (55441001)

Install a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat allows you to set different temperatures for different time periods throughout the day. Once you program it, you won’t have to touch it again. The thermostat automatically resets according to your instructions. 

Plant trees or shrubs for shade 
A good landscaping plan can do wonders. For instance, properly placed trees around the house can save you between $100 and $250 annually on your electric bill. Plant deciduous trees that will grow high, spreading their branches over the south side of your house. On the west side, plant trees with lower crowns to block the afternoon sun.

Draw your drapes 
Keep your blinds, shades and curtains closed on the south and west-facing windows during the day to block the heat of direct sunlight.

Stop cool air from escaping 
Add weather-stripping on doors and windows and caulk the cracks to keep cool air inside and hot air from leaking into your home. 

Properly insulate your attic
Install recommended levels of insulation to lower heating and cooling costs. On warm days, attic temperatures can get up to 140°F. 

Install ceiling fans 
A ceiling fan can make a room feel 6 or 7 degrees cooler while using less energy than a 100-watt light bulb. Remember to only run fans only when people are present in the room; ceiling fans cool people, not the air. 

Go oven-less at meal time 
Grill outside when possible. When you need to prepare small portions of food, use the microwave, toaster or a counter-top grill, all of which use less energy than a full-sized oven. 

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