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Ready. Set. Save! EPA Encourages Americans to Save on Summer Cooling Costs through Proper Use of Programmable Thermostats

Release Date: 06/05/2008
Contact Information: Shakeba Carter-Jenkins, (202) 564-4355 / carter-jenkins.shakeba@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - June 5, 2008) Today, EPA is launching an effort to help Americans save on their summer cooling bills with advice on how to properly program their thermostat. When used correctly, Energy Star qualified programmable thermostats can save money on energy bills and help fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If consumers manage their heating and cooling schedules accordingly, a programmable thermostat can save about $180 a year on home energy bills.

“This summer, you don’t have to sweat hot temperatures and high energy bills,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “By installing and properly using programmable thermostat, you can stay cool while keeping more cash in your pocket.”

The average household spends $1,900 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. EPA recommends proper use guidelines for Energy Star qualified programmable thermostats, as well as other energy saving tips for the summer.

You can program your thermostat for savings this summer by:

  • Raising your home’s usual temperature setting by 7 degrees when you’re away and 4 degrees when you’re asleep
  • Use the “Vacation” and “Hold” features to manage temperatures while you’re away from home for an extended period
  • Resist the urge to override the thermostat settings drastically, as this will not cool your home any faster and can cause your system to work harder, costing more on your energy bills.

EPA is also providing consumers with important tips and resources to help them get their energy use on the right track. By visiting: http://www.energystar.gov/pts consumers will find:
  • Proper use guidelines for setting and maintaining their thermostat, proper installation tips and features of Energy Star qualified models
  • A new video podcast that guides homeowners through choosing the programmable thermostat that is right for you and setting it for maximum energy savings.

Additional ways to save this summer:
  • Schedule an annual, pre-season maintenance checkup with a licensed contractor to ensure your cooling system is operating efficiently and safely – as well as identify problems early.
  • Be sure to clean or change your system’s air filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions -- generally once a month.
  • Find and seal air leaks that cause drafts and make your cooling system work overtime.
  • Adjust your thermostat and use your ceiling fan in the counter-clockwise direction to create a wind-chill effect, making you “feel” cooler for additional energy and dollar savings. But remember, ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. So turn the ceiling fan off when you leave the room.

Businesses can also benefit from the proper use of programmable thermostats and facility controls, particularly during the summer months. Learn more about programmable thermostats and other tips to save energy in the workplace this summer at: http://www.energystar.gov/bizcooling

About Energy Star:
Energy Star was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label is now on over 50 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial buildings. In 2007 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved more than $16 billion on their utility bills while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 27 million vehicles. For more information, visit: http://www.energystar.gov