• Close curtains and blinds and pull shades during the hottest times of the day, to keep the hot sun out. Open them once the sun goes down.
• Use a programmable thermostat to allow your house to be warmer than normal when you are away; set your thermostat to 78 degrees (or higher) when you are at home and need cooling.
• Keep doors and windows closed when cooling (or heating) your home.
• Keep air conditioner coils clean and free of dust and dirt to increase the efficiency and life of your air conditioner; replace filters regularly.
• Use ceiling fans to produce a wind-chill effect and increase cooling efficiency; turn the fans off when not in the room.
• Enroll in utility energy-saving programs to get discounts on summer electric bills.
• Use a microwave instead of an oven to cook; ovens take longer to cook and can make your house warmer, requiring more of your AC system.
• Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes; air dry dishes and dry clothes outside.
• Take short showers—with low-flow showerheads—instead of baths to reduce hot water use.
• Turn off lights, TVs, entertainment systems, and computers and monitors when not needed or not in use.
• Drive sensibly; aggressive driving wastes fuel. Carpool to work and events when possible.
Getting a home energy assessment requires a fee, but it is a first step to identifying a wide range of energy-saving measures. Gas or electric utilities can arrange energy assessments.
For a host of energy conservation tips, check out the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Savers website. Also, the Division of Energy Resources offers an energy guide called "Appliances, Lighting & Electronics" that covers many energy-saving suggestions.
Source: Minnesota Department of Commerce