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Home & Garden

(NewsUSA) - As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly turned the "new normal" household into hubs for all daily activities, Summer 2020 now means moving parents' offices, kid's camps, vacation destinations, and virtually everything under one roof.

Cool summer
A Cool Summer is Possible

Although this dynamic could forge family bonds, it can also ignite the already heated stresses and struggles facing many Americans during this difficult time - making optimal home climate control a critical key to keeping their cool as temperatures heat up this season.

Recent studies show how our increased togetherness can significantly disrupt domestic bliss. In fact, research suggests that people forced to live in quarantine conditions face a greater risk of anxiety, depression, anger, irritability, insomnia and post-traumatic stress symptoms.

And, despite feeling close to their children during the pandemic, 61percent of parents say they have shouted, yelled, or screamed at them at least once over the past two weeks, according to a University of Michigan study. Further, married and engaged couples in quarantine are fighting more, with only 18 percent of surveyed couples reporting satisfaction in communication with their partner, according to a survey conducted by the publication, "The Knot and app Lasting."

When temperatures - and tempers - rise, a dreaded "Family Thermostat War" can ensue. Following are some useful tips to help you save money on utility bills and keep your family cool.

With home heating and cooling accounting for nearly half of home energy use and air conditioner energy expenses costing homeowners more than $11 billion a year, small steps can go a long way.

* Ease Into Electric: According to Columbia University's Earth Institute, electric systems are a solution to decarbonize home climate control. Among the most energy-efficient heating and cooling products, electricity-powered ductless mini-split systems, offered by companies including Fujitsu General America, can save as much as 25 percent on your energy bill. Mini-splits use thin copper tubing to pump refrigerant from an outdoor compressor directly into an indoor air-handling unit, where the air is quietly distributed to the interior space.

* Get "Smart" About Climate Control: When it comes to smart home temperature control, there are Smart HVAC Systems and Smart Thermostats. Smart HVAC systems have built-in Internet capability and can be controlled directly without additional equipment. Smart Home Thermostats create "smart" systems by enabling remote temperature control via a mobile or Internet-connected device or voice-operated home automation system.

* Voice Your Preference: Take control of your comfort. Most HVAC manufacturers offer apps that enable systems to be controlled from anywhere using a mobile device. Voice-control capability uses digital assistants, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, to verbally dictate home temperatures. Easily controlling the temperature more closely allows homeowners to be more comfortable and improve energy savings.

* Find Your Efficient Comfort Zone: Many of us live in homes designed for bigger families, but have yet to downsize. If you find yourself using a fraction of your home on a regular basis, consider upgrading to a zoned, ducted, or ductless system. That will allow you to save energy heating and cooling spaces where you and your family don't spend a lot of time. This will multiply savings as you're not only needing less cooling, but you also gain from a more efficient system in the spaces you do still use.

* Try Low-tech Fixes: Simple changes can have a big impact. Try to use heat-producing appliances - stoves, irons and dryers at night or early morning. Switch to LED light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs - which consume 90 percent more power. Seal air leaks around windows, doors, and places where pipes and wires come through walls. And check existing caulking and weather-stripping for gaps or cracks.

Achieving a sense of peaceful co-existence in your increasingly crowded, multi-functional home does not need to make your family members hot under the collar. If a new system is right for you, many Fujitsu systems with the Energy Star rating are more than twice as efficient as the minimum standard set by the government. To learn more or find a contractor near you, call 888-888-3424 or visit www.constantcomfort.com.

** PHOTO:
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