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This summer has been hot - really HOT! When it’s this hot, it’s tempting to crank the thermostat way down. But wait! Air conditioning is a leading culprit of higher energy bills in the summer. Prevent your AC from using more energy than necessary, keep your home more comfortable, and save money all at the same time, with these simple ideas:

  • Change air filters regularly, at least every 3 months. Dirty filters make your system work harder. Make sure air ducts are sealed and insulated.
  • Install a smart thermostat. These devices keep energy use at a minimum, and comfort at a maximum, by automatically customizing cooling schedules to fit your life. They can also be adjusted from a mobile app.
  • CCEC members who enroll in Connect to Save can receive a smart thermostat for as little as $25! To learn more about Connect to Save and to enroll, visit

Keep in mind that if your unit is older, or improperly sized, it may not be running as efficiently as a newer, properly-sized model could. When buying a new air conditioner, consider an energy-efficient model for savings that will last as long as you own the system.

And all summer long, resist the urge to lower that temperature setting! It won’t cool the house any faster, but it will use extra energy.The U.S. Department of Energy recommends a summer thermostat setting no lower than 78 degrees for energy conservation. While that may not seem low enough on the hottest days, your air conditioning unit may never be able to reach your ideal comfort level, yet it will keep trying, the meter will keep turning, and your electric bill will keep going up.

Here are a few more money saving ideas that will help you keep your cool.

  • Turn off lights you aren’t using… it’s amazing how much heat traditional light bulbs put out. If you are still using old, incandescent bulbs, it’s time to replace them with energy-efficient LEDs.
  • Do only full loads when using your dishwasher and clothes washer.
  • Close draperies and blinds on any windows that allow direct sunlight to come into the house.
  • Make sure windows and doors are tightly closed.
  • Station fans in areas where you spend the most time. The breeze created by a fan speeds the evaporation of perspiration on human skin, which makes the body's natural cooling mechanism much more efficient. For ceiling fans, the direction of the blade rotation should be set so that air is blown downward. Be sure to 
  • Fire up the grill. Cooking inside heats up your home, making your HVAC work harder to maintain the temperature.