Expert gives pro tips to keep home cool while keeping energy costs low

WICHITA, Kan. With temperatures approaching 90 degrees bringing a feel of summer to Kansas this week, many are cranking up their air conditioners. With the seasonal change, though can come a sharp increase on your energy bill.

Wednesday, Eyewitness News spoke with the president of a company specializing in constructing high-performance buildings for tips on how best to keep your home cool while keeping utility costs as low as possible.

Tru Building President Jeff Jones says you first need to make sure your air conditioner is running as efficiently as possible.

"A lot of times older units, they need a little more love and care to make sure they're running smoothly," Jones says. "Newer units, even they need service regularly. But make sure you have it checked out by a good technician that can make sure it's running as efficiently as possible."

Once you have the peace of mind that your air conditioner is working as it should, Jones says keeping your house cool during the summer months starts with good insulation. He recommends using proper shades and blinds to keep out as much sunlight as possible.

"I think what people probably miss the most is just leaving their blinds open and how much solar heat (they) gain," he says.

Another factor to take into account is cooking, thinking about when you cook and how you cook. It's not a good idea to fire up your oven in the middle of the afternoon if you're trying to keep your home cool without cranking up the air conditioner.

Jones says you should also think about how much heat cranking up your dryer creates.

Along with the temperature in your home, humidity can play a factor in its comfort level. To help with this, Jones recommends getting a barometer for your home.

Pay attention to the humidity level in your house as well," he says. "In the summertime, we tend to dry out ourselves, we sweat, we need to hydrate more. Same thing with your air conditioner. Your air conditioner actually takes humidity out of the air, so we use humidifiers to make that feel comfortable. Your temperature may be 76 degrees, but yet it feels like it's 80. Whereas if it's the right humidity level, it might feel like it's 72."