How to conserve energy while keeping the AC on

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From Metro Creative Services

Air conditioning is a welcome luxury come the dog days of summer. Few people can imagine getting through a hot summer afternoon without turning their AC on, and that can make June, July and August some of the more costly months on the calendar in regard to energy consumption.

Though the months of June, July and August may not seem well-suited to cutting energy consumption, there are ways to conserve that don’t require turning off the AC.

• Reconsider the location of your thermostat. The Performance Building Institute, Inc. notes that thermostats are sensitive to heat. Thermostats located near heat-generating appliances like lamps, televisions and computers may be fooled into thinking a home’s interior is warmer than it actually is. That will keep a temperature-controlled AC running longer and more frequently than is necessary. If necessary, move the thermostat to a part of the home where there are no electronics and appliances.

• Emphasize maintenance of the AC unit. Even the most energy-efficient AC unit will be forced to work harder, and consume extra energy, if it’s not well-maintained. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy notes that ENERGY STAR-certified HVAC equipment can yield annual energy savings of 10 to 30 percent. But such products must be maintained. Annual maintenance appointments with an HVAC technician can ensure the unit is clean and refrigerant levels are correct, helping it run as efficiently as possible.

• Embrace natural ways to keep a home’s interior cool. Cranking the AC is not the only way to maintain a comfortable temperature inside a home during the months of June, July and August. Closing curtains on especially warm days keeps the sun out and makes it easier to maintain comfortable temperatures inside without lowering the temperature on the thermostat. Avoiding the stove on hot nights and preparing cold meals or firing up the grill outside is another way to keep the house cool.

• Address insulation issues. Cracks around windows and doors affect the temperature inside the home, making it colder in winter and warmer in summertime. Seal cracks around doors and windows to keep the cool air in during the summer. Keeping that air in should allow you to raise the temperature on your thermostat without compromising comfort.

Come the dog days of summer, conserving energy needn’t come at the cost of comfort. Various strategies can help people reduce their energy consumptions and keep their air conditioners on.

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