Cooling Tips

Keep Cool and Save

Get helpful tips to manage your energy use all season long.

The weather plays a role in your energy use and can result in higher bills - sometimes without any changes in your behavior, or how you are using energy. Whether you are at home or away, simple steps will keep your bill low and you cool.

Pre-Season Check-Ups
Schedule a professional checkup of your cooling system and you could get a DTE Energy rebate. A qualified contractor can make sure your system is operating efficiently and delivering the maximum energy savings. Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season checkups.
 

Purchasing ENERGY STAR® Central Air Conditioners
If your central air conditioning unit is more than 12 years old, replacing it with an ENERGY STAR®-certified model could cut your cooling costs by 30%.
 

Shading Your Unit
An air conditioning unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun. Plant shade trees to shade your home and block the heat from the sun. Shade your air conditioner, too. Direct sunshine on the heat exchanger decreases its efficiency. A well-placed tree or awning will shade and protect the unit.

Check out our DTE Rebate Program to see how you can get some money incentives for a central air conditioning unit check-up or replacement.
 

Oversized Unit
A properly sized air conditioner will operate more efficiently and dehumidify more effectively. An oversized unit will cycle on and off more frequently. Short cycling reduces an air conditioning system’s life and a short cycling system will not reduce humidity effectively.
 

Undersized Unit
Undersized air conditioning equipment can reduce the efficiency of air distribution and accelerate wear on system components, leading to premature failure.
 

Replacing Compressor Coils
To maximize the efficiency of your new cooling system, replace both the indoor and outdoor compressor coils when replacing an older central conditioner unit, to ensure they're properly matched for maximum efficiency, comfort, and dependability.
 

Air Filters
Change your air filter regularly. Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months in the summer. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool, wasting energy.
 

Looking for a High SEER Rating
Look for an Energy Guide label with a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The SEER measures the energy efficiency of central air conditioners and allows consumers to compare operating costs of various cooling systems. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner runs, lowering your energy use. ENERGY STAR certified central air conditioners have higher SEER ratings and energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings and use 8% less energy than conventional new models.


Purchasing ENERGY STAR® Room Air Conditioners
ENERGY STAR®-certified room air conditioners use about 9% less energy than conventional models, which could mean a savings of about $70 over the lifetime of the unit, on average.
 

Shading Your Unit
Position window air conditioners on the shaded side of the house, away from direct sunlight. For more efficient cooling, close doors leading to uncooled parts of the house.
 

Oversized Units
Many people buy an air conditioner that is too large, thinking it will provide better cooling. However, an oversized air conditioner is actually less effective—and wastes energy at the same time. Air conditioners remove both heat and humidity from the air. If the unit is too large, it will cool the room quickly, but only remove some of the humidity. This leaves the room with a damp, clammy feeling.
 

Undersized Units
Undersized air conditioning equipment can reduce the efficiency of air distribution and accelerate wear on system components, leading to premature failure.
 

Purchasing ENERGY STAR®
If all room air conditioners sold in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR®-certified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $350 million each year, preventing 6 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions, equal to those from more than 570,000 vehicles.
 

Cover Open Registers
Cover or close open registers near window air conditioners so cool air doesn’t escape through the registers.
 


Programmable Thermostat
Install a programmable thermostat. Program your thermostat to work around your family’s summer schedule. A setting of 78 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended in the summer. With proper use throughout the year, programmable thermostats can save you about $180 annually in energy costs.

Check out our DTE Rebate Program to learn how you can get money back for buying a new thermostat.
 


Seal Then Insulate
Homeowners typically save up to $200 a year in heating and cooling costs by air sealing their homes and adding insulation.  Weatherizing your home this way is one of the most cost effective ways to improve energy efficiency and comfort.
 

Sealing Hidden Leaks
Air can leak out of your house around windows, doors, skylights and other openings. If you add up all of the hidden air leaks in your home, they can equal a hole the size of an open window! To maximize home efficiency, seal all the gaps where air can leak out.
 

Insufficient Insulation
Although some types of floor coverings will naturally feel cold on bare feet, insufficient insulation or air infiltration could be the cause for cold floors. Air sealing and insulation can help stop drafts and improve the comfort of your home. Contact a heating and cooling contractor to check if your heating and cooling system is providing enough air to each room.
 


Adding Shade
Close blinds and curtains on the south and west-facing windows to block out summer sunlight. To add more shade, plant trees to shade windows or move container trees and plants in front of windows.
 

Purchasing ENERGY STAR® Windows
Energy-efficient windows and doors can lower your heating and cooling bills. If your home has only single pane windows, consider replacing them with low-E coated or ENERGY STAR® windows.

Replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR®-certified windows lowers household energy bills by 12% nationwide.
 

Adding Tinted Window Film
Tinted window film can help reduce solar heat gain during the summer and it will keep furniture and carpets from fading.

Check out our DTE Energy Weatherization programs to see if you are eligible for the Home Performance Program or the Insulation and Windows Program.
 


Purchasing ENERGY STAR® Dehumidifiers
Consider purchasing an ENERGY STAR® dehumidifier. It removes the same amount of moisture as a similarly sized conventional unit, but uses 30% less energy. The annual energy saved by an ENERGY STAR®-certified dehumidifier could power your ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerator for 4 months! Be sure to check out our DTE Rebate Program so you can get money back.
 

Reducing Sources of Moisture
Improving the drainage around the foundation of your home may result in decreased humidity in your basement. Ensure that clothes dryers are properly vented to the outdoors. Repair leaking outdoor faucets and if your home uses central air-conditioning, consider installing an air conditioner vent in the humid space in your home.
 


Sealing Air Leaks
Check your ductwork for air leaks, especially at joints. Seal off air leaks with foil-faced tape rather than duct tape.
 

Insulating
Wrap ducts in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer.
 

Seal and Insulate
If you have ductwork that is located in an unconditioned spacesuch as the attic, a crawlspace, or unfinished basementseal leaks and insulate it. Check to ensure that hanging flexible ducts are supported every four feet with an inch-and-a-half wide or wider hanging strap.
 


Keep the Air Flowing
Make sure that rugs, drapes or furniture are not blocking air flow to cooling registers. Also keep them clear of paper, files and office supplies.
 

Exhaust Fans
Use an exhaust fan to blow hot air out of your kitchen while cooking.
 

Turning Off Exhaust Fans
Turn off kitchen and bath exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing. Also, when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
 


Roof Ventilation
Ensure the roof has adequate ventilation to reduce heat buildup. In the summer, good attic ventilation reduces heat buildup. That cuts cooling costs and prolongs shingle life.
 

Purchasing ENERGY STAR® Roof Products
ENERGY STAR®-certified roof products can help reduce the amount of air conditioning needed in buildings and can reduce peak cooling demand by 10% to 15%.
 

Purchasing ENERGY STAR®
Americans spend about $40 billion annually to air condition buildingsa sixth of all electricity generated in this country. ENERGY STAR®-certified roof products reflect more of the sun's rays. This can lower roof surface temperature by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, decreasing the amount of heat transferred into a building.
 


Purchasing ENERGY STAR® Ceiling Fans
ENERGY STAR®-certified ceiling fan/light combination units are 60% more efficient than conventional fan/light units, which can save you more than $15 per year on utility bills and use improved motors and blade designs.
 

Use the Ceiling Fan
Dialing up the thermostat by only two degrees and using your ceiling fan can lower air conditioning costs by up to 14% over the course of the cooling season.
 

Turning Off the Air Conditioner
Install ceiling fans instead of cranking up the air conditioner in the summer. Open windows for cross breezes.
 

Changing Blade Direction
Use ceiling fans to provide additional cooling and better air circulation. Run the blades counter-clockwise or downward to cool more efficiently. Ceiling fans cool only people, not the room, so remember to turn ceiling fans off when you leave.
 

ENERGY STAR® Lighting Kit
If your fan doesn't include lighting, be sure to purchase an ENERGY STAR®-certified light kit. This lighting is efficient and long lasting, so you won't have to make frequent bulb changes. ENERGY STAR®-certified ceiling fan/light combination units are 60% more efficient than conventional fan/light units, which can save you more than $15 per year on utility bills.


Laundry and Dishwashing
Postpone laundry and dishwashing until the evening when the outside air is cooler.
 

Using a Grill
Avoid activities that add heat and humidity to your home during the hottest parts of the day, such as cooking inside. Cook outside on the grill instead of using the oven.
 

Using Your Microwave
You can reduce cooking energy by as much as 80% when using your microwave for small portions. This also helps save on air conditioning costs in the summer since less heat is generated when compared to using your stove or oven.
 


Pool Pumps
If you don’t have an ENERGY STAR® pool pump, you are losing out on big energy savings and other benefits. An ENERGY STAR® pool pumps use up to 70% less energy than standard pool pumps saving you up to $350 a year in energy bills.
 

Pool Timers
Pool timers allow you to reduce filtration times. Running your pool filter only 6 hours a day versus 24 hours, will reduce your energy use by 75%. If debris is a problem, consider using a timer that can activate the pump for many short periods each day. Running the pump continuously for 6 hours leaves the other 18 hours a day for the pool to collect debris, whereas several short cycles can keep the pool clean all day.
 

Use a Pool Cover
Pool covers minimize evaporation from both outdoor and indoor pools. Covering a pool when it is not in use is the single most effective means of reducing pool heating costs. Savings of 50% – 70% are possible.
 


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