By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Air conditioning is a way to escape the worst of summer’s heat, but how can we escape the worst of the high electric bills that go with it?

About 100 million American homes have central air conditioning, and who knows how many more sport window A/C units.

Jeff Wilson, host of do-it-yourself shows on HGTV and an energy efficiency expert, says either way you’re going to want to seal up cracks to keep your cool air in and the yucky stuff out.

Windows and doors are major issues, he advises, but recessed lighting and even interior electric switchplates should be sealed, too.

And he says you can use your programmable thermostat wisely.

“You tell your progammable thermostat, when I leave, go ahead and let the house heat up by 10 degrees.  When I’m coming home at 5:30 and I want the house to be cool again when I get home, so you can tell it to have the house back to the comfortable temperature when you return.  That can save up to 10 percent on your air conditioning bill,” he notes, figuring that it might take an hour for your air conditioner to overcome that 10-degree difference.

Top Content On CBSPhilly

John Ostapkovich