(ARA) - Along with summer's extra hours of sunshine, blooming flowers and
green lawns, comes the heat. Whether bright and blazing or hot and humid, escaping
the heat means turning on the air conditioner.
A recent national survey conducted by Honeywell revealed the majority of
Americans will turn on their air conditioners to stay cool this summer. While
most will retire to cool confines, 66 percent say they will eat ice cream or
consume other cool foods or beverages to cool themselves on hot days, and 53
percent of American adults will go swimming or run through a sprinkler.
"It's apparent that most families are going to avoid the heat this summer
by turning on their air conditioner," says Mark Winston, vice president
of Honeywell's North American Homes Operations. "To make sure they don't
get burned by increasing energy costs, homeowners should properly program their
thermostats to save annually on their energy bills."
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling accounts
for 44 percent of a typical home energy bill. Because the average family spends
$1,300 annually on energy bills, controlling the temperature in the home can
be one effective way to save.
Homeowners using air conditioners that allow them to control the temperature
can save energy by using a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat
can be customized to the homeowner's lifestyle and will adjust temperature to
preset, lower-cost levels at specified times, like while sleeping or at work.
Programmable thermostats are ideal to save on cooling costs, particularly when
no one is at home.
So how cool is too cool? As long as a person's home is cooler than the outside
temperature, the body will adjust and feel cool once inside. Xcel Energy, a
leading U.S. energy company, recommends homeowners set their thermostat to 78
degrees during the hot summer months.
Many homeowners set their thermostats lower than necessary. Survey results
showed that 62 percent of Americans set their air conditioner to a temperature
under 75 degrees. Surprisingly, very few people set their air conditioner at
78 or over.
Follow these U.S. Department of Energy tips for saving energy dollars during
the hot summer months:
- If you use a central air conditioner, use a programmable thermostat
to automatically adjust your home's temperature at night, while you're at
work or on vacation, to save annually on energy bills.
- Keep window coverings closed during the day to reduce heat build-up.
- Don't over cool. Keep in mind that turning your thermostat down to a
lower than comfortable temperature won't cool your home any faster.
- Use ceiling and oscillating fans whenever possible.
- Trees provide shade and cooling. Strategically planting three trees
around the house can save between $100 and $250 annually in cooling and
heating costs. Daytime air temperatures can be three to six degrees cooler
in tree-shaded neighborhoods.
Courtesy of ARA Content