Dear friends:

In south florida, with heat and humidity, air-conditioning in our homes and businesses is a fact of life, not a luxury. Your electrical power bill often spikes in warmer weather because the ac is being put to full use.

In some cases, the ac is vital for health, specifically for the elderly, young children, those with heart or neurological conditions, and those using certain medications that affect the body’s ability to deal with heat. For the rest of the population, air-conditioning is still a much-used comfort feature of our homes and work places.

To maximize the benefit from your cooling system, consider these facts and tips:

  • A ceiling fan can make the room feel six or seven degrees cooler, according to consumer reports greener choices’ web site. You can turn on the ceiling fan when the temperature is 82 degrees and still be comfortable without using the air-conditioner. On hotter days, you could set the ac to 82 degrees and then let the fan do the rest. During the heat of the day, try running the fan at top speed. In the evening, the lowest speed will be adequate.
  • If you have drapes or awnings, you can close the drapes or blinds to help keep the home cool. The awnings can be rolled out during the hottest part of the day.
  • Before upgrading your air conditioner to a bigger unit, try tinting your windows! If you’re considering the replacement of some or all of your windows, you will find that the modern versions have two panels of glass, separated with air or another gas for insulation. These windows can help lower your power bills.
  • Insulation is another tool for maximizing the work of your air-conditioning system. The home insulation you have will help you to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. In addition, try the strategic placement of trees, high shrubs or hedges to help keep in your home’s coolness.
  • Clean or replace your ac filter every month to trim your cooling cost and help your unit run more efficiently.