Easy ways to stay cool, save energy

As we enter the hot days of summer with temperatures over 90 degrees, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources reminds consumers of some simple no-cost or low-cost energy-saving tips to help keep cool, conserve energy, and reduce utility bills

Check out the following 10 tips to keep cool, save money, and help prevent unnecessary power outages by easing high demand of electric power this summer:

• Close curtains and blinds and pull shades during the hottest times of the day to keep the hot sun out.

• Set your thermostat to allow your house to be warmer than normal when you are away; when you are at home and need cooling, adjust your thermostat to 78 degrees (or higher), or to the highest setting that allows you to be safe and comfortable. A programmable thermostat will make this easy.

• Keep doors and windows closed when cooling your home.

• Keep air conditioner coils clean and free of dust and dirt to increase the efficiency and life of your air conditioner; replace filters regularly.

• Use fans to produce a wind-chill effect and reduce air conditioning demand; turn the fans off when not in the room.

• Enroll in utility energy-saving programs (such as air conditioning “saver” switches) to get discounts on summer electric bills.

• Use a microwave instead of an oven to cook; ovens take longer to cook and can make your house warmer, requiring more of your AC system.

• Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes; air dry dishes and dry clothes outside.

• Take short showers—with low-flow showerheads—instead of baths to reduce hot water use.

• Turn off lights, TVs, entertainment systems, and computers and monitors when not needed or not in use.

Getting a home energy assessment requires a fee, but it is a first step to identifying a wide range of energy-saving measures. Gas or electric utilities can arrange energy assessments and often underwrite some of the cost.

For a host of summertime energy-saving tips, check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Saver website. Also, the Commerce Department’s Division of Energy Resources offers consumer energy guides that cover many energy-saving suggestions. Check out DER’s series of Minnesota Energy Tips.


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