Be Cool: A Guide to Energy-Efficient Air Conditioning

The dos and don'ts of air conditioning.

| May/June 2001


In the average home, air conditioning consumes more than 2,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, costing the average homeowner $1,350. Air conditioners use about 5 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States, cost homeowners more than $11 billion, and release roughly 100 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year. This summer, save precious energy by adhering to these simple dos and don’ts.


• Install window fans or a whole-house fan, which pulls cool air through the house and exhausts warm air through the attic.

• Plant leafy trees or shrubs to shade air-conditioning units; shade can mean a 10 percent reduction in the amount of electricity an AC unit uses.

• Clean or replace air conditioner filters once a month and keep both the indoor and outdoor coils clean.

• Keep the house tightly closed during the day and ventilate at night.

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