Energy saving tips for the summer

With rising prices across the board, as well as a slowing economy, consumers these days are looking to save as much money possible. Attempts to conserve energy have perhaps been the most evident.

Bill Fortner with Airtron Heating and Air Conditioning in Dallas has several tips to help you save this summer. Fortner says from a maintenance standpoint, it's important not to assume that because the system is running, it's operating at 100% efficiency.

''The fact is it's not much different than your vehicle, where it needs maintenance on a regular basis,'' Fortner says.

''You wouldn't drive your vehicle for two years, for instance, without getting your oil changed.''

Fortner says there have been studies that show systems that aren't maintained can cost as much as 30% more than systems that are maintained.

Fortner encourages consumers to have a trained professional perform a detailed inspection and cleaning of your air conditioning system. He says besides changing a filter, there's not much else a consumer can do in terms of maintenance.

Fortner recommends subscribing to a membership plan that provides a more detailed inspection and actual cleaning of some of the components of the system that help keep its efficiency up.

According to Fortner, about 30% of homes have leaks within their ductwork. This can also cause an increase in energy costs. For instance, if a leak is occurring within a home's attic air is flowing to an area that doesn't necessarily need cooled therefore costing more. This type inspection can also be done by a professional.

When it comes to lighting ones home, Fortner recommends using compact fluorescent bulbs as opposed to incandescent bulbs. These light bulbs use less energy and last several years longer than incandescent bulbs.

Finally, Fortner advises you unplug vampire electronics, or devices that draw power from outlets even when they're turned off. Devices include computers, video game consoles and cell phone/battery chargers.