To help control central air conditioning costs, adjust your thermostat to a slightly higher setting, dress in cool clothes, use fans and avoid heat-producing activities such as cooking, drying and ironing until evenings. Also, increase the thermostat setting much higher (around 80 degrees) when you are away and then lower it when you are home (around 75 degrees).
Refrigeration uses less energy than air conditioning, but it likely comprises about 6 percent of your energy use. Because refrigerators and freezers produce heat, using them efficiently can save money and take some load off your cooling equipment as well.
Some ways to save on refrigeration:
- Make sure your refrigerator is set to correct temperature — 45 degrees is good for fridge and 0 degrees for freezer.
- Make sure the seal is good. Keep it clean and replace it if damaged so cold air cannot escape.
- Keep vents and coils free of dust to improve efficiency and run less frequently.
- Keep refrigerator a couple of inches away from the wall to allow escape of hot air it creates.
- Let food cool before putting it into the refrigerator.
- Defrost frozen food in fridge rather than wasting water or using a microwave. The frozen food also helps keep the refrigerator cool. A slow defrost also is better for the food.
- Keep the doors closed as much as possible. Decide what you want before you open the door, get what you need and get out. Leaving the door opens wastes energy and costs money.
- If your freezer requires defrosting, do it when the ice gets ¼-inch thick to avoid wasting energy.
- Keep the freezer full. An empty freezer loses much cold air each time it’s opened. If you never have much in there, consider putting empty containers in there to take up the space.
- Consider replacing old units with newer Energy Star units, which are more efficient. Replacing refrigerators from the 1970s and 1980s can save $100 to $200 a year. The Energy Star calculator can help you estimate potential savings.