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When the summer heat strikes, your first impulse might be to crank up the air conditioner and cool off inside. However, if you are running that AC non-stop throughout the summer, you will quickly find that your energy bills will skyrocket and you will want to find ways to save energy at home.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that homeowners spend a total of $11 billion every year to power their air conditioners. You can reduce the amount of energy used (and reduce your bill, too) by 20-50 percent by switching to a high-efficiency air conditioner and by following a few tips to help you stay cool this summer.

Ways to save energy can save money over time, too.

You can use your windows to let in more cooling air and trap out the heat. When it cools off during the night, switch off the air conditioner and have the windows open when sleeping. In the morning, shut the windows to keep the cold air in, and draw the blinds that keep the heat out.

Using a ceiling fan allows you increase the thermostat roughly 4 degrees without feeling any less comfortable, and can reduce the strain on your air conditioner. In fact, even in moderately hot weather, a ceiling fan can eliminate the need for an air conditioner. But remember, fans are meant to cool people and not rooms, so turn off fans when you leave the room.

Set your thermostat higher, as the smaller difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures will mean a lower overall energy bill. If you will be away from your home, keep the house warmer and only turn on the air conditioner when you are present. You can save up to 10 percent a year just by turning your thermostat down for eight hours a day.

Also on hot days, avoid counteracting your air conditioner by overusing your home’s appliances. Opt for grilling outside instead of cooking in the oven; wash only full loads of clothes and dishes, and consider air drying both; and minimize activities that generate a lot of heat and energy, such as running a computer.

There are many ways to save energy, but you can reduce your costs by following these tips, or by visiting Sharon’s Heating and Air Conditioning at 31776 Cowan Road in Westland, and get the best upgrade your home’s air conditioning.

Call the professionals at Sharon’s Heating and Air Conditioning at (734) 425-1415