Energy savings: cooling and air conditioners

Air conditioning and heating account for more than half of the energy consumed in a typical Minnesota home – so increased efficiency can save you big money.

General cooling tips:

  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, as recommended by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
  • Block direct sunlight from entering your home by using blinds, curtains and shades.
  • Use ceiling fans and oscillating fans to stay cool. Fans help people and pets keep cool, making them a great way to lessen your use of expensive air conditioning.
  • But turn fans off when you leave the room. Fans help your body stay cool, but do not "cool a room down" or lower the air temperature. 
  • Turn off heat-generating items like lights, TVs, computers, entertainment systems to help cool your home and save electricity.
  • Avoid using your oven, as it will radiate heat into your home. If possible, use your outdoor grill or microwave.
  • Keep your air conditioner running efficiently with an a/c tune-up.   

Central air conditioning maintenance:

  • Professional A/C contractors should clean the condenser and evaporator coils and check the air handler's fan belts (if applicable). The contractor should also check the outdoor unit to ensure correct charge of Freon and adequate air flow.
  • Ask your contractor to inspect ductwork for leaks or disconnections.

Window or room air conditioners tips:

  • Ensure window units are securely mounted before, during and after maintenance.
  • Inspect, clean or replace the filter in the grill every month, as dirty filters can raise operating cost by 15 percent!
  • Keep the inside evaporator coil clean on window units. Also keep the outside condenser coils clean, free or leaves and other objects.
  • Caulk or seal places around the window that leak water or air.
  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. You save about 9 percent energy for each degree you raise your cooling setting.

For additional facts and tips, view the Department of Energy's Home Cooling Infographic and the MN Department of Commerce's Cooling Strategies to Minimize A/C Demand.

And don't forget to schedule your annual Central Air Conditioner Tune-up with HSP!