Staying Cool, On the Cheap

The Connecticut Energy Fund offers ways to keep cooling bills down this summer.

Summer has officially descended on the region and that means it’s time to crank up the air conditioning or fans to beat the heat. It also means spikes not just in the temperature, but in your electric bills as well.

Luckily, there are ways to stay cool this summer without breaking your wallet.

The Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, which is administered by the state’s electric and gas utilities and promotes efficient energy use, is offering consumers numerous ways for residents to save money during the heat of summer while staying cool.

1.Close the drapes on windows when it’s sunny. At night, open windows when temperatures are cooler. Up to 15 percent of your cooling can escape through unprotected windows. During the hot summer months, close insulated drapes or shades to help keep out unwanted heat.

2. A typical ENERGY STAR ceiling fan will cost approximately $1.50 per month if used 8 hours per day while a window air conditioner can use more than 20 times that amount.  Ceiling fans will keep the air moving and allow you to keep the thermostat setting higher because moving air feels cooler.

3. Keep your HVAC equipment well-tuned with periodic maintenance by a service professional. If you do buy a new HVAC unit, select the most energy-efficient system within your budget. The initial cost may be high, but in the long run, your operating costs will be lower.

4.Direct sunlight on a window air-conditioning unit increases its workload. When a choice is possible, locate units on the north or shady side of the house.

5. It’s a waste of money and energy to run your room air conditioner all day long just to cool an empty house. Instead, install an appliance timer on your window air conditioner or use a programmable thermostat on your central air conditioning system. Then, you can activate the unit prior to your arrival. 

In addition to those tips, it may be time to make sure the air conditioning system in your home is ENERGY STAR rated. Connecticut residents should know that the benefits of central air conditioning or ductless systems that have ENERGY STAR ratings are quieter and provide greater comfort throughout your home.

All residential CL&P and UI customers are eligible to receive a $250 incentive on system upgrades that meet the ENERGY STAR qualified minimum efficiency requirement of 14.5 SEER / 12 EER.  Customers who install ductless heat pumps can qualify for a rebate of up to $1,000.  Additional rebates are available if the contractor participates in the Energy Efficiency Fund Quality Installation Verification Program.

Installing a central air conditioning system or a heat pump system that meets ENERGY STAR standards will ultimately help lower the cost of cooling your home. It is important to know that up to half your home’s annual energy cost is in heating and cooling, but the good news is that ENERGY STAR central air conditioners are up to 25 percent more efficient than standard equipment, which means you can save hundreds over the life of the unit.

For more tips from the Energy Efficiency Fund on ways to keep cool while being energy efficient or for further information, visit their website, or call 1-877–947-3873. To learn more about Energy Efficiency in Connecticut, find us on Facebook.



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