Reducing Internal Gains

Reducing the amount of heat that originates from inside your home reduces air conditioner costs. These internal heat gains are lights and appliances. Reducing their use will save electricity and keep your home cooler. In humid climates, moisture that is released by cooking, bathing, and other activities will also make it harder for air conditioners to cool your home. A drier home feels more comfortable.

Here are some easy ways to reduce summer internal heat gains.

  • Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights. The electricity used by standard bulbs produces 10% light and 90% heat. Compact fluorescent lights are cheaper to operate, too.
  • Schedule heat-producing chores like baking or doing the laundry after the hottest part of the day.
  • Install an insulating jacket on your water heater.
  • Use hot water sparingly – it produces heat and humidity. Wash clothes in cold water and dry outdoors when possible.
  • Use kitchen and bathroom fans to remove heat and moisture during and after cooking and bathing.
  • If you plan to remodel your home, isolate your heater, washer, and dryer from the cooled part of your home. Or, ask a heating contractor if you can install a door between these appliances and the rest of the home.

When replacing appliances, especially the refrigerator, select models with Energy Star® labels. These appliances save electricity and release less heat.
If you live in an area where evenings are cool, don’t forget about the cheapest cooling of all. Open your doors and windows, or run window fans. This will move cool air through your home for almost no cost.

Reducing heat from lights by using CFLs and cooling yourself with circulation fans are two good low-cost cooling strategies.

Both Your Home Cooling Energy Guide and The Homeowners Handbook to Energy Efficiency have extensive information about maintaining comfort and reducing air-conditioning costs.