Q: A while back, you said that its better to turn down the heat a few degrees in the house during the day and after bed than to keep it at a constant temperature. You said that it takes less energy to warm up a cool house than to keep it hot constantly. Is this true about air conditioning too?
A:Yes. I like to look at this way: If I were planning on pasta for dinner, I wouldnt keep a pot of water boiling all day. So, turn the air conditioning off while youre out. If you have central air conditioning, you can use a programmable thermostat to automatically turn up the temperature at the time you normally leave the house, and turn it down in time to have your house cool for you when you get home. Some newer window units also have programmable thermostats. If you have a window model without this feature, you can use a timer to turn the air on and off but it must be rated for use with a window air conditioner. A timer that you use for lights is not rated for this use.
While youre thinking about cooling, consider ways to stay comfortable while reducing your air conditioning costs. In the evenings, when its cooler, open your windows to create a cross-breeze and use fans instead of air conditioning. Whether or not youre using A.C., find any holes or cracks to the outside or to the attic and seal them with spray foam or caulk. Properly installed insulation will help keep summer heat out and keep a house cool and comfortable longer. For more cooling tips, visit efficiencyvermont.com and search for Cool Your Home.