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We’re all looking for ways to keep cool this steamy summer. But as we turn on our fans and air conditioners, we’re also increasing our bills. If you don’t want your cooling efforts to cost you a bundle, you can take some simple actions to save energy and money, and help fight climate change…while staying cool.

The U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program offers these low to no-cost energy efficient cooling tips to beat the heat.

* Program your thermostat to work around your family’s summer schedule—set it a few degrees higher (such as 78 degrees) when no one is home, so your cooling system isn’t cooling an empty house. With proper use, programmable thermostats can save you about $180 a year in energy costs.

* Check your HVAC system’s air filter every month. Change the filter if it looks dirty, and change it at least every three months. A dirty filter will slow air flow and make the system work harder to keep you cool, wasting energy.

* Run your ceiling fan to create a cool breeze. If you raise your thermostat by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan, you can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent. Remember that ceiling fans cool you, not the room, so when you leave the room make sure to turn off the fan.

* Pull curtains and shades closed before you leave your home to keep the sun’s rays from overheating the interior. If you can, move container trees and plants in front of sun-exposed windows to serve as shade.

For help with these and other energy saving actions, contact Mass Save, an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts’ gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers, which work closely with the Department of Energy Resources.

 

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