MINNEAPOLIS — It's been a hot few weeks in Minnesota, and there are some days when nothing feels better than relaxing on your couch with the air conditioner blasting.
But that chilly air could come with a high price tag. Energy Star, a government-backed program designed to promote energy efficiency said in 2019 that you shouldn't keep the temperature of your home set cooler than 78 degrees in the summer.
That's right. 78 degrees.
And not just 78 degrees all day. The report recommended warming your home to 85 degrees during the day and 82 degrees when you head off to bed.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) website, you can save as much as 10% annually on your cooling bills by turning your thermostat up seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day.
Both Energy Star and DOE recommend installing a programmable thermostat in your home to have better control over your temperature settings.
While these temps might sound like they'd be just as warm as standing outside, using other techniques around the house can help maximize the cool relief you feel being inside.
The DOE recommends that during the day when the sun is hottest, you should keep your curtains drawn to keep the heat from coming into your home. Curtains, shades and other window treatments block not only direct sunlight, but also the heat radiated from outdoors.
Cooking can be another source of heat in your home. When the temps are hottest, try to avoid using your oven. Cooking on the stovetop or in a microwave helps keep the kitchen cool. Or if you want to take full advantage of the summer weather, fire up the outdoor grill, order takeout or treat yourself to a meal at your favorite local patio.
While they don't have the same artic power as an air conditioning unit, fans can be effective support to help boost the cool indoors. Ceiling fans are the most effective, according to the DOE. Pairing a ceiling fan with an A/C unit can allow you to set your thermostat around four degrees warmer without feeling any reduction in comfort. Just make sure that your fan is blowing in a counter-clockwise direction for the warmer months.
If you've tried all the tricks you can at home with no relief, there are often local cooling centers open to the public for no cost. Check out if a library, pool or government building is hosting a cooling center here.
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