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Summer Energy Tips

Summer sun and Air Conditioning 

Summer means beaches, barbecues, and hot summer days. While us New Englanders can't wait for the brutally cold winters to come to an end and the warm summer air. That summer sun means turning on the AC and fearing the electric bill.

How do you beat the heat without breaking the bank? Heading to the beach for a swim and a day by the beach is always an option. Pools are great for cooling off but the pump and a heater will also increase your electric use. Here are some tips for saving energy this summer without increasing your electricity demand too much.

First when you should and shouldn't use a standing or ceiling fan. Fans can circulate the air out of a room, fans will only cool people. The cooling effect that is felt from a fan is from the wind chill that is created. You should only use a fan while someone is in the room. 

Those of you that are lucky to have central air throughout the home or have mini-split air conditioners, more those later, should program them to raise the temperature when the home isn't occupied and at night. Doing this can save you hundreds of dollars throughout the summer months, at 78 or 80 degrees a home will feel wonderful compared to a 95 degree humid day outside. You can then lower the temperature of the system to your desired setting.  

When it comes to the most energy efficient option for Air Conditioning, mini-split units are without a doubt the best option.  With the recent trend to save or conserve energy federal laws require Central Air Conditioning units to be more energy efficient.  This has not been passed on to windowed AC units to the same degree.  Ac units are measured by their Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating or SEER, the higher the number the better the energy savings. 

Mini-split ac units have to carry an SEER of 13 or higher while windowed units only have to carry a SEER of 10.  Three points doesn't seem like a lot, but that just represents the lowest tier of the AC units.  The big difference is when you compare the two units, for mini-splits it's easy to find the SEER rating, for window units it's near impossible. Most units that you could find at stores won't even have the SEER listed.  Mini-split units are also mounted to the wall, freeing up windows to be used on days that don't require AC, allowing for natural air to cool the room instead of firing up the AC.

Another method to keep a home cool is to close the windows and keep the shades down after a cool night.  This will help to keep the cool air in the home while preventing heat from sun light to enter the home. This isn't always going to work especially on those 90 degree days in July and August.

Nothing tastes better than a meal cooked on the grill, cooking outdoors can also help to keep the temperature down and the AC off. Cooking a meal in the hot summer months with an oven can raise the temperature in your home by 15 degrees forcing the AC to kick on when it might otherwise not need to turn on.

July is here and there is no better time to put these tips and tricks into place to help cut down on energy costs.

Robert Stahelski

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