Don't let cooling bills make your blood boil

When temperatures soar in the summer, sales of air-conditioning units also tend to rocket - followed closely by household electricity bills.

But, says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, homeowners don't have to get hot and bothered over this issue.

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says they can keep aircon operating costs down in the following ways:
* Set the thermostat on as high a temperature as comfortably possible - the less difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower the cooling bill will be;
* Don't set the thermostat at a cooler setting than normal when turning the aircon on - this will not cool your home any faster but will consume more power;
* Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with a wall-mounted air conditioner - this will not greatly increase the power bill but will help to move cooled air more efficiently through your home;
* Keep lamps or TV sets away from the thermostat to prevent misleading readings resulting in overcooling;
* Keep aircon units out of the sun by positioning them in the shade of a large tree or shrub or fitting a shade-cloth cover - a unit operating in shade uses as much as 10 percent less electricity than a unit operating in the full glare of the summer sun; and
* If your existing aircon unit is 10 years or older or needs constant repairs, consider replacing it with a modern, energy-efficient model.

"And remember," says Everitt, "proper home insulation can cut more than 10 percent a year off your energy bills, since it not only stops the loss of cool air in summer but of even more expensive heat in winter."

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