FTC Consumer Alert
Federal Trade Commission n Bureau of Consumer Protection n Office of Consumer and Business Education
Cooling Your Home: Don’t Sweat It
As the mercury rises, so can the costs of keeping your home cool. And while news reports about high
energy prices may have you in a sweat, the Federal Trade Commission has some tips to help you save money
while keeping your home cool this summer.
1. Do an energy audit to help detect waste and gauge the efficiency of your current cooling system. Your
utility company may offer free or low-cost energy audits, or you can conduct your own. The U.S. Department
of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) offer tips and checklists at
www.homeenergysaver.lbl.gov. The home “walk-through” can help you spot areas that need attention or
problems that, if fixed, could save you money. For example:
l Check your attic, attic stairway, attached garage walls and basement to make sure your home is insulated to
DOE-recommended levels for your geographic area. When inspecting and buying home insulation products,
look for the R-value. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.
l Have your central air conditioning (AC) system serviced each spring. Your utility company may provide
l Hire a professional to seal and insulate leaky ducts, and to ensure that the airflow distribution system serving
your equipment is operating at peak efficiency.
l Clean or replace AC and furnace filters once a month or as needed, and seal holes around plumbing and
l Install a programmable thermostat. You can save money by keeping your house warmer than normal when
you’re out, and keeping the setting at 78 F when you’re home.
l Install drapes, shades, blinds or another window covering. Keeping them closed during the day blocks the
sun and the heat from the sun’s rays.
l Consider replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows with high-performance glass. Look for
low-emissivity (low-e) or spectrally selective glass. In warmer climates, sel