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Eight hot tips to stay cool this summer

Article Published 07/28/2014

Here are eight tips to stay cool and save on energy costs this summer from Rocky Mountain Power:

1. Pay attention to the thermostat – Keep your thermostat at 78°F or higher if you're still comfortable. The higher you set the thermostat, the less your cooling system will operate unnecessarily.

Use a programmable thermostat and run your air conditioner when you're home. Program your thermostat so the air conditioning comes on no earlier than 30 minutes before you're scheduled to arrive home.

Don't place lamps or televisions near your air conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, and this may cause it to run longer than necessary.

2. Replace filters often – Keep air conditioner filters clean. They should be cleaned or replaced once a month during the season. If you can do so safely, clean the exposed grill and spines of the outside unit.

3. Avoid using heat-producing appliances – If you're home during the day, try to reduce the use of the oven, range, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer.

4. Use fans – Use portable, ceiling and whole house fans to keep cool. They use much less electricity than central air conditioning. Remember to turn fans off when you leave the room.

Also run exhaust fans when you shower or cook to vent warm, moist air. 

5. Consider insulation and duct sealing – Make sure your home has the appropriate amount of insulation in walls, attics and crawl spaces. Insulation is just as important in the summer as it is during the winter since it helps keep warm air outside.

Also seal and insulate air-conditioning ducts that run through unconditioned spaces.

6. Plant trees – Plant deciduous trees facing southeast and southwest for summer shade and winter sun.

7. Get regular tune-ups – Have your cooling system professionally inspected and tuned-up. Professional inspections and tune-ups of heating and central air conditioning systems can help save on operating costs and extend the equipment's life. A check-up is recommended every year for heat pumps and regularly for other systems. 

8. Consider evaporative cooling – Evaporative cooling systems are more efficient than central air conditioning. Today's systems have efficient, quiet motors, adjustable automatic thermostat controls and cooling pads that filter out pollen and dust. 

Some homeowners have both central air conditioning and evaporative coolers. When the humidity is low, using the evaporative cooler saves significant energy costs. The central air is a great option when the summer humidity soars and thus the evaporative cooler doesn’t cool the air as efficiently.

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