Keeping your home cool during the dog days of summer

Diana Enright, 503-378-8278
Cliff Voliva, 503-378-3637

SALEM — Keeping your home cool in the dog days of summer can be a challenge. Here are some tips from the Oregon Department of Energy.

Open your windows at night so the cool night air can replace the warm air inside. Close your windows in the morning and close your drapes and shades during the day.

Window shading
Install exterior window awnings or plant trees and shrubs to keep the direct sun off your windows and home.

Turn off your lights whenever possible. Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to help reduce heat inside your home. About 90 percent of the electricity used to light an incandescent bulb produces only heat. While CFLs and LEDs are more expensive, they last much longer.

Ventilation fan
Install an attic ventilation fan to remove heat and improve your home’s ability to cool off.

Air conditioning
Rather than turning on the central air conditioner, use a fan to circulate the air.

Service or tune-up air conditioning equipment annually. Have your system serviced and adjusted by a professional maintenance technician. Clean or replace filters monthly – or sooner if you cannot see light through the filter. Clean filters make it easier for the system to work, keeping its performance level high.

If you have central air conditioning that is more than 10 years old or window air conditioners more than eight years old, consider replacing with a more energy efficient system.

Heating and cooling a home uses about 50 percent of our energy dollars. With central air conditioning, save money by setting the thermostat to 78 degrees when you’re home and warmer when you’re away, health permitting.

Sealing ductwork
Many homes have leaky or disconnected ductwork. To help ensure your central air conditioning delivers cooled air to all the rooms of your home properly, a trained contractor will evaluate your duct system to identify leaks and then seal them using mastic, metal-backed tape, or an aerosol-based sealant.

Appliances and electronics
Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. Plug home electronics – such as TVs, DVD players and computers – into power strips and turn off the power strips when the equipment is not in use.

About the Oregon Department of Energy: The Oregon Department of Energy reduces the long-term costs of energy for Oregonians. It provides tax credits, grants, loans, technical assistance and energy information for homeowners, businesses, manufacturers, farms, ranches, schools and governments.

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