Tips on staying cool

July 23, 1998

For those with air conditioners, Allegheny Power offers tips to reduce energy bills in summer:

- Set the thermostat no lower than 78 degrees. A good rule of thumb is to cool the house no more than 10-12 degrees below the outside air temperature.

- Keep outdoor sections of air conditioning equipment free from shrubbery and other obstructions.

- Make sure room air registers, both supply and return, are not obstructed by draperies or furniture.

- Install the proper amounts of insulation in your home and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows. It's just as important to keep heat outdoors during the summer as it is to keep it indoors in the winter.

- Control humidity levels by using kitchen exhaust fans when cooking and bathroom exhaust fans when showering or bathing. Turn off exhaust fans after humidity is cleared to avoid venting cold air.


- Check the air conditioner filter at least once a month and clean or replace it as necessary.

- Increase attic ventilation. The attic temperature should never exceed 130 degrees. Consider a power ventilator if you are unable to provide enough natural ventilation.

Other ways to keep cool:

- Keep window shades, venetian blinds or draperies closed on the sunny side of the house.

- Keep lamps, television sets and other heat-producing appliances away from air conditioner thermostats.

- Schedule activities that produce heat and humidity, such as showering or laundry, in the early morning or late evening when outdoor temperatures are generally lower. Avoid the use of dishwashers and clothes washers with partial loads.

- Use the microwave rather than the conventional range for cooking.

- Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees, vent the clothes dryer to the outside and close the fireplace dampers to prevent the loss of cooled air.

- Use devices such as awnings, overhangs and sunscreens to shade windows from the sun.

- Plant shade trees on the south, east and west sides of your house to provide shade. They also will cool the air as moisture evaporates from their leaves.

- Use light colors to reflect solar heat. Dark colors absorb it. Keep this in mind when you select shingles for the roof or paint for the side walls.

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