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Energy Tip - July 1, 2013

No-cost ways to beat the heat, conserve energy

There are many simple no-cost action steps you can take this summer to conserve energy and reduce your utility bills. Here is a list of ways to beat the heat and save money:

  • Close curtains and blinds and pull shades during the hottest times of the day to keep the hot sun out. Open them once the sun goes down.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to allow your house to be warmer than normal when you are away; set your thermostat to 78 degrees (or higher) when you are at home and need cooling.
  • Keep doors and windows closed when cooling (or heating) your home.
  • Keep air conditioner coils clean and free of dust and dirt to increase the efficiency and life of your air conditioner; replace filters regularly.
  • Use ceiling fans to produce a wind-chill effect and increase cooling efficiency; turn the fans off when not in the room.
  • Enroll in utility energy-saving programs to get discounts on summer electric bills.
  • Use a microwave instead of an oven to cook; ovens take longer to cook and can make your house warmer, requiring more of your AC system.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes; air dry dishes and dry clothes outside.
  • Take short showers—with low-flow showerheads—instead of baths to reduce hot water use.
  • Turn off lights, TVs, entertainment systems, and computers and monitors when not needed or not in use.
  • Drive sensibly; aggressive driving wastes fuel. Carpool to work and events when possible.

Getting a home energy assessment requires a fee, but it is a first step to identifying a wide range of energy-saving measures. Gas or electric utilities can arrange energy assessments.

For a host of energy conservation tips, check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Savers website. Also, the Division of Energy Resources offers an energy guide called “Appliances, Lighting & Electronics” that covers many energy-saving suggestions.

Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Contact the division’s Energy Information Center at or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.