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Beat the Heat and Bust Those Energy Bills; NYSERDA Offers Energy- Saving Tips to Stay Cool and Save Money this Summer


ALBANY, N.Y., June 23 -- Willis Haviland Carrier couldn’t take another hot and muggy summer in New York. The Cornell graduate set out to find a better way to beat the heat and, in 1902, made the “apparatus for treating air” -- the world’s first air conditioner.

Today, air conditioners are staples of modern-day homes but inventions can always be improved. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend as much as half their energy bills to cool their homes. Now New Yorkers can take advantage of 21st Century technology to stay cool this summer and bust their energy bill.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers the following energy efficiency tips that will keep your home, and your wallet, comfortable when the heat rises.


The EPA labels the most efficient central air conditioning systems with the ENERGY STAR. These systems use up to 25 percent less energy than a standard new model. However, if current cooling equipment is more than 10 years old, a new ENERGY STAR qualified model will use up to 40 percent less energy than the old model.

Size Matters

With air conditioners, bigger isn’t always better. An oversized unit will cycle on and off more frequently. Short cycling reduces an air conditioning system’s life, and a short cycling system will not reduce humidity effectively. Undersized equipment can reduce the efficiency of air distribution and accelerate wear on system components, leading to premature failure. So what’s the best way to properly size an air conditioning system? Measuring the size of the house and the number and size of the windows, especially windows facing south and west, will help identify a system that can effectively deal with the heat that a home gains in the summer. Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractors, certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), can assist you with this assessment.

Maintain Cooling Systems Regularly

Properly maintained equipment prevents future problems and added expenses. BPI-certified Home Performance contractors who are trained cooling specialists can perform annual pre-season check-ups to ensure that a central air conditioning system is running as efficiently as possible. They will check thermostat settings, lubricate all moving parts, inspect the condensate drain, check system controls for safety, clean condenser coils, check refrigerant pressures, and clean and adjust blower components for proper system airflow. Contractors will also show homeowners how to inspect, clean, and change air filters monthly. A dirty filter causes higher energy costs and can damage equipment. Filters in room air conditioners should also be changed monthly.

Keep Air Conditioners in the Shade

Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units but be careful not to block its airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10 percent less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.

Use the Air Conditioner Wisely

A home doesn’t need to be chilled all day, day in and day out, to be comfortable in the summer. Save energy and money by using an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat. The thermostat allows homeowners to preset temperatures to automatically adjust to a more comfortable temperature when they are home. While away, homeowners can also block out heat by keeping blinds or curtains closed during the day.

Use Ceiling Fans

Using ENERGY STAR qualified ceiling fans can help cool your home without greatly increasing electricity use. Ceiling fans improve airflow and create pleasant breezes.

Test your home

Making energy efficient improvements can help shrink energy bills year round. With Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, any size or style home can be improved to reduce energy costs up to 40 percent. A BPI-certified contractor will perform a comprehensive home assessment to test the performance of any home with respect to energy efficiency, comfort, health and safety. The contractor will identify opportunities for improving a home’s efficiency and provide the estimated cost of making the improvements. The program even offers low-interest financing to help pay for the recommended work.

For a list of BPI-certified contractors and more information on ways to save energy with Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, visit or call toll-free1-877-NY-SMART.

All New York Energy Smart(SM) programs are funded by a System Benefits Charge (SBC) paid by electric distribution customers of Central Hudson, Con Edison, NYSEG, Niagara Mohawk, Orange and Rockland, and Rochester Gas and Electric. NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation established by law in 1975, administers SBC funds and programs under an agreement with the Public Service Commission.

New York Energy Smart(SM) programs are designed to lower electricity costs by encouraging energy efficiency as the State’s electric utilities move to competition. The programs are available to electric distribution customers (residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial) who pay into the SBC.


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