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Experts talk saving money; staying cool during hot temperatures

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- 

With a heat wave on the way for the weekend, air conditioners will be running full force. 

Those at Home Comfort Experts say there are some ways to save some money and beat the heat. 

Operations Manager James Olesen says the best thing to do for an air conditioner is to make sure to have maintenance do a checkup yearly. 

But before the hot and humid temperatures hit, he said homeowners can also take a hose to the sides of the unit to make sure it’s clean and can work properly. 

“If you’ve seen cottonwood on your grass this summer, you’ve got cottonwood on your air conditioner,” said Olesen. “Grab a garden hose and give it a rinse.”

He also said to remember the 20 degree rule. That’s to make sure the air conditioner is set no lower than 20 degrees below the outdoor temperature. This prevents it from running all day to keep up. 

Keeping blinds closed will also help keep homes cool, and keeping windows closed at night. 

"It seem's backwards right? Shut the air conditioner off, open up the windows at night, let that nice 70 degree breeze blow through your house,” said Olesen. “That 70 degrees also has a lot of humidity in it, especially this time of year, so you're going to let all of that humidity back in your house. Now tomorrow morning when you turn your air conditioner back on, the air conditioner has to work all day long just to work on that humidity before it can start on the temperature. So what you saved tonight, you're going to spend that probably double tomorrow in the run time of the air conditioner just trying to work on that humidity."

Each degree on a thermostat affects the energy bill, but lowering humidity can mean a lower bill and a cooler home. 

A 6 percent change in humidity feels like a whole degree difference. 

Olesen says getting a whole-home dehumidifier for home a will use less energy than an air conditioner on its own, and save money in the long haul. 

It can do the work of what six smaller dehumidifiers at retails stores can do. 

"Really it can sit anywhere in the house that you need it to sit and can be ducted to do any areas that you want or simply just as a stand-alone unit in the basement. So you have options how this is going to best dehumidify your specific house,” said Olesen. 

And keeping the humidity under control helps with more than just comfort level. 

"If you have pianos, guitars, any musical instruments, when it gets really humid, that wood that that piano is made out of is going to cause a piano to go out of tune. Then it shrinks back up in the winter and it goes out of tune. So controlling the humidity, obviously this time of year keeping the humidity down, is good for more than just your pocketbook and good for more than just your skin, it’s good for your whole house," said Olesen.

 

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