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8 Ways to Keep Your Home Cool for Less $$$

Here’s a refresher on how to slash cooling costs. 

1.    Sun shields. Start by blocking heat gain from the blazing sunshine during the day. Keep your blinds closed and consider installing awnings on windows that face south. 

2.    Plant shade trees. For longer-term solutions, plant some shade trees. Koa is the perfect tree to have for shade in Hawaii.

3.    HVAC health. Schedule an appointment with your HVAC contractor to be certain that your system is clean and that it’s in good working condition. Be sure they look at and clean the evaporator and condenser coils, which help the system run more efficiently and contribute to long-term health. 

4.    Seal it up. You probably did some sealing projects before the winter to keep the cold air out. Don’t remove all that caulking and weather stripping just because nicer weather is here. Those projects pay off during summer by keeping cold air in and hot air out. 

5.    Programmable thermostat. Again, installing a programmable thermostat isn’t just a tip for winter. During hot times, you can save by not keeping your house or condo feeling like a meat locker. Rule of thumb: Save 1 to 3 percent on energy costs for every degree your thermostat is set above 72 degrees.

6.    Change your filters. Just like in the winter, clean filters – replace them each month -- cut the load on your system and help it work more efficiently. 

7.    Trim your shrubs. If your air compressor and condenser are next to your house outside, be sure the unit has 24 inches of open space – free of bushes, grass,  leaves, and so forth – all around it for maximum performance. That’s according to the experts at This Old House.   

8.    Window units. Most air conditioning advice you find concerns central air conditioning.  Here’s a step-by-step strategy for installing and insulating window units to maximize efficiency and reduce energy costs.  Keep in mind that air sealing around the unit is crucial.