Going green and saving energy doesn't mean that you need to take on a costly home improvement project. Sometimes, you just need to make small adjustments around the house. Here are three things that you can do in less than 10 minutes:
1. Adjust your thermostat
The Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees during the summer. Every degree lower adds 3% to your cooling costs. Turning your thermostat up from 70 to 78 degrees and leaving it there can cut your electric bill by 24%. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to 85 degrees while you are at work for even more savings. Contrary to popular belief, it takes less energy to cool off your home just before you return than it does to leave your AC running all day.
2. Check your air filter
Air filters are easily neglected, but they're one of the most important pieces of your air conditioning system. In order to provide cool air, your AC needs to pull the warm air out of your home. The warm air goes in through the air filter, and if your air filter is dirty and clogged, less warm air is pulled out of your home and less cool air goes out through your vents. This makes your AC run longer and adds to your electric bill.
3. Close your blinds
Leaving your blinds open can be a great way to allow natural light into your home, but many people underestimate the amount of heat that direct sunlight can add to your home. If you have west-facing windows with the blinds wide open, the amount of sunlight coming in may cancel out most of the cooling power your air conditioner provides. Be sure to keep these blinds closed during summer afternoons.