St. Louis, Mo., June 21, 2012 – After record-smashing heat this spring, consumers may be worried about the hot summer months to come. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has tips to help you stay cool while avoiding budget-busting bills.
The three-month period from March through May was the hottest on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Many consumers turned on their air conditioners earlier than normal and expect to keep them on for most of the summer. If this year is at all typical, more than 3 million residential air conditioning units will fail before the cooling season is over.
“Keeping cool can be a challenge, especially if your budget is tight,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB President and CEO. “Simple steps, such as clearing debris and changing your filter, can keep your unit running efficiently. If you need to repair or replace it, you need to find a reliable contractor and know what to look for to minimize energy use.”
A programmable thermostat can save energy by allowing temperatures to rise when you’re not at home. Don’t keep your house colder than necessary. A setting no lower than 78 degrees is recommended for daytime; 78 to 82 at night. Closing off rooms you don’t use also can save money. Don’t forget to turn the air conditioning off if you’re going on vacation – or even away for a long weekend.
Consider having your heating and cooling system checked by an HVAC professional twice a year. Keeping your system properly maintained will lower your energy and repair costs, prevent breakdowns and prolong the life of your unit. Without routine maintenance your system performance degrades over time until it eventually fails.
If you need to repair or replace your unit – or you just need routine maintenance - BBB Business Reviews can help you find a reliable contractor. The BBB rates companies on a scale of A+ to F, using 16 factors, including how the company responds to complaints. The reviews are available at www.bbb.org or by calling 609-588-0808.
Replacing a unit that was installed in the 1990s with an Energy Star qualified model could save up to 30 percent in cooling costs, according to Ameren, the electric utility in St. Louis. Other things to consider when replacing a unit: