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With temperatures expected to reach 90 degrees or more all this week, ComEd is offering the following tips that can help reduce energy usage by up to 20 percent and possibly more this summer:

— Manage your thermostat: For customers with central air conditioning, keep thermostats at a constant, comfortable level (74 to 76 degrees, or even higher) when at home. Raise the thermostat setting a few degrees for days with extreme heat (90 degrees or higher) to save even more. Lowering the thermostat setting below the desired temperature will not cool your home faster, it will just waste energy and money.

— Check air conditioner size and placement: For those with room air conditioners, ensure that the appliance is sized properly for the room and turn the unit off if someone is not going to be in the room for an extended period of time. Place window air conditioners on the north or shady side of the house to avoid overworking the unit in the hot daytime sun.

— Use fans to circulate air: For those without air conditioning, ComEd recommends ceiling fans or portable fans operating with the windows partially open to circulate fresh air into your home. For those with air conditioning, fans can be used to evenly distribute cool air and reduce your air conditioner’s “on” time.

— Use appliances wisely: To reduce interior heat during the warmest part of the day, run appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers in the early morning or evening hours when it’s generally cooler outside. Also, use a microwave to cook, or barbecue outside, if possible, during the hottest days.

— Keep shades, blinds and curtains closed: About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes through windows. Simply drawing blinds and curtains, which act as a layer of insulation, can reduce heat gain to your home. Awnings are even better and can dramatically reduce heat from the sun. Window coatings and window film can reject as much as 80 percent of the heat from the sun.

— Keep the hot air out: Turn off all unnecessary lighting and appliances, which add heat to the home. Keep doors to the outside, garage or attic firmly closed to keep cool air in and hot air out.

— Look for energy-efficient appliances: When shopping for appliances such as refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners, look for the ENERGY STAR(R) label, and purchase the most affordable energy-efficient unit. Newer more energy-efficient models lower monthly operating costs.

— Replace inefficient lighting: Replace your old standard incandescent bulbs with new compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. CFLs and LEDs use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and can last up to 30 times longer, depending on which technology you choose.

— Get paid to save. Use energy-efficient appliances which use less energy than older models. ComEd will pick up your old, working refrigerator or freezer for FREE and send you $35 for participating. Those in the market for a new central air conditioner should look for ENERGY STAR(R)-qualified A/C units, which will be at least 15 percent more efficient than conventional models. ComEd offers incentives for the simultaneous installation of qualifying high-efficiency furnace and central air conditioning systems.

Copyright PRNewswire 2013