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Stretch Your Dollar on Home Cooling

Is your energy bill going up, up, up?! Stay cool without blowing your budget with these tips.

Searcy, Ark. –

Keeping cool during an Arkansas summer is not easy, especially on a budget.  This summer presents the added challenge of being home more, due to COVID-19.  But you can still save energy and money with these home cooling tips.

INSIDE THE HOUSE

Turn the fans on.  Ceiling fans, box fans, whatever!  Ceiling fans make the room feel cooler because they create a breeze.  Just remember to turn them off if no one is in the room.  You won’t use much electricity running fans (not near as much as the A/C) but there’s no sense wasting energy!

Air Conditioning. Check filters and replace as needed – usually once a month. Dirty filters can reduce the efficiency of your system.  Cleaning or replacing dirty air filters can save 5% of the energy used to run the A/C system. Have a professional check and clean equipment every year. Set your thermostat comfortably high in the summer and dress accordingly.  Set the thermostat to 72 degrees or higher. Start by increasing it just a degree or two.  For every degree above 72 degrees, you will save 5% on cooling costs.   

Away from home? While you’re away from home, turn your thermostat back 10-15 degrees.  If you turn the thermostat back for at least eight hours a day, you can save approximately 10% on your heating bills.  A common misconception is that a system works harder than normal to return the space to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back.  This misconception has been dispelled by years of research and numerous studies, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Thermostats.  You might consider installing a programmable thermostat.  A programmable thermostat can be set to return the living space to a comfortable temperature before you arrive.  You select the times the heating or air-conditioning comes on, according to your pre-set schedule.  Most programmable thermostats can store and repeat six or more temperature settings a day.  You can manually override the temperature setting without interfering with the rest of the daily or weekly schedule.  Look for the ENERGY STAR label indicating the most energy efficient products.  The price is approximately $29 - $75. 

INSIDE AND OUT

Insulation - Make sure your home is properly insulated.  Make sure your attic and roof area are properly insulated to keep heat from coming in.  Caulking and weatherstripping windows will also help keep heat out.  When your house was built, the builder likely installed the amount of insulation recommended at that time.  If you have an older home, have an inspector check the insulation.  Seal gaps around pipes, ductwork, and chimneys.  Inside the home, you can add blackout or heat-blocking curtains to naturally insulate a room.  Just remember to keep the curtains closed during the sunny parts of the day. 

For more dollar stretching ideas, contact Katie Cullum at the White County Extension Office at 501-268-5394 or kcullum@uaex.edu.  You can also follow Katie on Facebook @ uaex white county fcs.  Visit www.uaex.edu for more information on personal financial management. Or check out Katie's Summer Savings Series on the At Home with UAEX Blog

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its program to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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By Katie Cullum
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Katie Cullum
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
2400 Old Searcy Landing Road Searcy AR 72143
(501) 268-5394
kcullum@uaex.edu

 

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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