How can I reduce my home’s cooling costs on hot summer days?

When the temperature soars in the summer, your electricity consumption can increase dramatically. In fact, air conditioning accounts for roughly one-third of Ontario’s electricity use on the hottest days of the year. And a typical homeowner with central air conditioning can spend an extra $200 in energy costs over the summer. Here are some tips on how to beat the heat and stay comfortable, while reducing your energy consumption.

Install a programmable thermostat

  • Reduce your cooling costs by up to 10% with a properly programmed thermostat.
  • Place your thermostat on an interior wall where there are no vents or drafts.
  • In the summer, set your thermostat to 25°C when you’re home and 28°C when you’re away.

Make small changes

  • Close your drapes or blinds on hot, sunny days.
  • Consider external shading to keep the heat out, such as a gazebo, pergola, shutters, awning, exterior roll-down shades, shrubs or trees.
  • Install weather stripping around your windows and doors to help keep the cool air in.
  • Use ceilings fans set to run in the counter-clockwise direction, to create a cool breeze so you don’t have to use your air conditioning system as often. Ceiling fans use far less electricity than your central air conditioner. Ceiling fan performance and energy savings are dependent upon the proper installation and use of the ceiling fan.
  • If possible, use your air conditioner early in the day, in the evening and overnight during off-peak hours. Then turn it off mid-day during on-peak hours. You pay significantly less for electricity during off-peak hours. With time-of-use (TOU) prices, you pay prices that generally reflect the relative value of electricity supply at different times of the day.
  • Increase your attic insulation to help keep the cool in. Also, consider your attic ventilation which will have the greatest impact in reducing the attic temperature. Ensure that you have perforated soffit and a sufficient number of roof vents.

Keep your air conditioner in good condition

  • Have a licensed HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) professional inspect and service your furnace once each year to ensure it’s operating at maximum efficiency.
  • Check the filter on your central air conditioner or your window air conditioner once a month. Replace the filter if it’s clogged and at least, every three months or as recommended by the manufacturer. Dirty filters restrict the air flow and reduce the efficiency of air conditioners.

Look for the ENERGY STAR® label

  • When shopping for a new central or window air conditioner, consider purchasing an ENERGY STAR® certified model, which is more efficient than a standard model.
  • Look for the EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) and SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings when shopping for a new air conditioner. The EER measures an air conditioner’s efficiency when it’s 35°C outside and the SEER measures how efficiently an air conditioner operates over an entire season. The higher the EER and SEER ratings are for an air conditioner, the more efficient it is.
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