Looking for ways to escape the heat this summer while saving money on your energy bill?

The Bend Energy Challenge is here to help! We have compiled a Summer Saving “go-to” checklist for you and your family to keep cool and save money. Some of these tips are simple low cost tips, while others you might want to consider using a trained and certified energy saving contractor to help you. Either way, our goal is to help you save money and most importantly beat the heat this summer. Everyone deserves a cool and comfortable home to retreat to when the temperature rises.

Here are 10 tips to get you started:

1. Run your ceiling fan to create a cool breeze —Check to make sure your fan is blowing air downward to help you feel cooler. On hotter days, dialing up the thermostat by only two degrees and using your ceiling fan can lower air conditioning costs by up to 14 percent over the course of the cooling season.

2. Change your furnace filter every three months at a minimum—A dirty filter will slow airflow and make your furnace work harder. If you have trouble remembering to do this, signing up for a subscription-based delivery service like Filter Easy is a great option (entering promo code ENERGY will get your first delivery for free!).

3. Close blinds and curtains on south- and west-facing windows — This easy step blocks out summer sunlight, making your home cooler. You can also plant trees outside to shade windows or move potted trees and plants in front of windows.

4. Passive Nighttime Cooling – Living in the High Desert we are fortunate enough to have cool nights. Take advantage of this by opening all your windows and sliding doors before you go to bed. Then when you wake up in the morning, trap this cool air inside your home by shutting your windows and blinds.

5. Seal air leaks, then add insulation — Keep warm outside air from leaking into your home. Inspect the cracks and penetrations around the home. Sealing off cracks and leaks from where cable lines, dryer vents, and telephone lines may penetrate your home will keep your home’s inside temperature lower. Adding attic and floor insulation will also help your home stay cooler as the outside temperature heats up!

6. Install a programmable thermostat — Program your thermostat to work around your family’s summer schedule. Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees or off when you are away. Using ceiling or room fans allows you to set the thermostat higher because the air movement will cool the room. You can save 1 – 3 percent per degree, for each degree the thermostat is set above 72 degrees. With proper use, programmable thermostats can save you about $180 annually in energy costs.

7. Minimize the number of times that outside doors are opened and closed — Hot air from outside enters your home every time the doors open.

8. Get rid of indoor heat sources — If you get rid of indoor heat sources such as incandescent lights and electric appliances you’ll stay cooler and have less need to run your air conditioner. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs) use 75 percent less energy, produce about 75 percent less heat and provide the same amount of light.

9. Seal and insulate your ducts – This is a huge bang for your buck both for winter and summer months. Leaky duct work can account for more than 30% of wasted energy. That is money literally spewing from your ducts. What’s the point in cooling your home, if half of the cool air is cooling the attic? The easy way to know if you house has leaky ducts is to have an energy audit and duct blaster test performed. This will quantify just how leaky those ducts are and where they need to be sealed. This is not the same as duct cleaning. Duct testing and sealing is a more extensive and lasting way to ensure the cooled air from your air conditioner is being properly distributed throughout your home.

10. Install a new high-efficiency central air conditioner — If your home or your home’s air conditioner is older than 15 to 20 years, now is the time you might want to consider replacing this outdated unit. Consider buying an energy-efficient air conditioner with a higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficiently the air conditioner runs, which reduces your energy use. ENERGY STAR central air conditioners, with at least a 14 SEER, are the more efficient models on the market. If you think you can get by one more year with your existing air conditioner make sure to remove all leaves, grass and debris monthly from the outside condenser during the summer months.