Use fans and shut off the AC: A fan (ceiling or portable) uses less than 5% of the energy an air conditioner may require. Ceiling fans are an energy-efficient option for cooling the spaces you use the most. You may still need your AC on occasion but save with a fan. Remember, if you plan to leave for a few minutes or more, turn your fan off. Running it while you’re not there is wasteful.

Let the cool air in: During the cooler morning and evening hours, open your windows and use the outside air to cool your home.

Keep the sun out: During the day, keep your drapes or blinds closed for windows with eastern, southern, and western exposures can help reduce heat from the sun.

Turn it up: Increase the thermostat setting of your central air conditioner and save on cooling costs. We suggest that you set your cooling thermostat at 78 degrees or higher when you are home and turn it off when you are away to achieve maximum savings.

Keep vents clear: An obstructed vent wastes both energy and money.

Keep your AC cool: Place portable or window air conditioning units out of the direct sunlight.

Keep it in: Keep your doors and windows closed when you have the air conditioner on.

Avoid heating your home: Appliances such as dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers give off heat, so try to avoid their use during the hottest times of the day.

Use Small Appliances in the Kitchen: Use a crock pot, toaster oven, or microwave instead of your full-sized range or oven to keep your home cooler and save energy. These small appliances use only 20 to 50% of the energy needed to cook the same meal on your stove top or oven.

Shade your house: Use landscaping, awnings, and overhangs to provide shade around the outside of your home. A shaded house is easier to cool than one in direct sunlight. Exterior window awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows.

Plant a tree: You probably know that trees help improve air quality and enhance the appearance of your property and neighborhood. You may not realize that planting shade trees on the southwest and southeast corners of your home will keep your home cooler during the summer months. If you have air conditioning, shade trees can reduce your cooling needs by 20 to 100% depending on the size and type of tree and the design of your home. See Water Conservation: Landscaping for additional information on landscaping for energy efficiency.

Maintain it: Proper maintenance helps your air conditioner run more efficiently. Replace your furnace filters every few months during the cooling season. It’s also important to keep the area around the outside compressor free of weeds and debris – check each spring before you turn on the AC for the first time. You’ll improve your air quality as well as save energy.

Tune up the AC: Have a professional clean and inspect your central AC unit every other spring to ensure that it is tuned and ready for the summer. You’ll save energy and extend the life of your system.

Inspect the seal on your window A/C unit: With time, the seal around your window air conditioner can degrade, allowing freshly cooled air to escape back outside. Inspect the seal each spring and replace it if needed.

Upgrade your central AC: When you replace your central air conditioner consider an energy efficient central air conditioner that uses less electricity to cool your home. The higher the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), the lower the electric bill will be for you. Talk to your local air conditioning contractor about high efficiency units

Upgrade your central AC and heating at the same time: Consider upgrading your heating and cooling systems at the same time to a high efficiency Heat Pump which will help you save energy in the winter and summer. If you have an electric furnace a heat pump could save you up to 50% of your heating costs. Rebates and loans are available from Flathead Electric for qualifying installations.

Upgrade your window AC: If you choose to replace your primary room air conditioner be sure to read the ENERGY GUIDE label to help you select the most efficient room air conditioning unit. The higher the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) number the lower the electric usage.

Upgrade window AC and heating at the same time: If you have electric zonal resistance heat (baseboards, in-wall, or ceiling radiant) consider upgrading your heat and AC at the same time with the installation of a Ductless Heat Pump. Ductless Heat Pumps are twice as efficient as electric resistance heat and have very high AC efficiency. Rebates and loans are available from Flathead Electric for qualifying installations.