Cheap, Practical Energy Saving Tips to Use at Home

saving energy
As we've continually tried to show you on TreeHugger, taking the necessary steps to conserve energy doesn't have to be an arduous, expensive ordeal. In fact, quite the contrary: it can be a cheap (or even free), rewarding and ultimately enlightening experience.

Now that we are in the midst of the dog days of summer and hitting record highs in several parts of the country, saving energy on cooling has become more important than ever. Fortunately, the fine folks at Flex Your Power have just released a comprehensive list of mostly cheap and free energy saving tips that should go a long ways towards making your summer a bit more bearable (and lighter on the wallet). Some highlights after the jump.• Close drapes, blinds and shades to keep sun's rays out of the home during the warmer months.

• Check the settings on the room air conditioner. Make sure the "fresh air" vent on the air conditioner is closed so you are not cooling outside air.

• Install an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat away from natural cool and hot spots. An ENERGY STAR thermostat can save as much as $115 per year, provide more flexibility than standard models and perform one or more of the following functions: Save and repeat multiple daily settings, which you can change when needed without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program; store four or more temperature settings a day; and adjust heating or air conditioning turn-on times as the outside temperature changes.

• Remove and clean room air conditioner filters monthly. Dirty filters reduce the efficiency of the air conditioner.

• Consider installing a whole-house evaporative cooler if you live in a dry climate. An evaporative cooler uses as much as 75% less electricity as an air conditioner, saving approximately $150 a year. For hotter desert climates, the savings can be much more.

• When buying an air conditioner, enlist the services of a qualified technician to ensure your unit is properly sized and installed for your home/building. A unit that is too large will not only cost you more up front, but will actually work less efficiently, costing you more to operate over its lifetime.

Have your own practical energy saving tips to beat the summer? We'd love to hear them!

Via ::Flex Your Power: Heating & Cooling Tips (organization website), ::Lifehacker: No cost ways to get those cooling bills lower (blog)

See also: ::Invest in Conservation, Save Energy. Watch Your Bills Go Up, ::Twenty Free Ways to Save Energy

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