If you're like most people, almost two-thirds of your electric bill during the summer months goes toward staying cool and comfortable.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple, no- and low-cost steps you can take to get more value from your cooling dollars.
America’s electric companies offer the tips below to help get you started:
- Keep the thermostat at 78 degrees when the house is occupied, and at 85 degrees when vacant (save 1 – 2 percent on cooling costs for each degree you raise your thermostat). A programmable or “set-back” thermostat can make these changes automatically. Ask at your local hardware or home center. Many are available for under $50, and the money it will save you on your cooling bills will pay you back!
- If you have ceiling fans, be sure to turn them on—a fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees and still feel cool. Make sure they are turning in a counterclockwise direction (you should feel a cool breeze standing directly under the fan). Also, turn off the fan if no one is in the room.
- Regularly clean/replace the air conditioner’s air filter (save up to 5 percent on annual energy costs).
- Keep the door and vents closed in unused rooms (save up to 3 percent on cooling costs).
- Close the curtains on windows facing south and west (save 2 – 4 percent on cooling costs).
- Appliances that add heat to your home, such as lighting and cooking, can make your air conditioner work harder too.
- Use a microwave oven instead of a regular oven (save up to 90 percent on cooking costs
- Install compact fluorescent lights in high-use fixtures (save about 66 percent on lighting cost per fixture).
- Be sure to take advantage of the new federal tax credits when making energy efficiency improvements to your home: www.energystar.gov/taxcredits
For more information on using electricity efficiently, please visit your electric utility’s Web site. Many include detailed, interactive pages about wise energy use and energy efficiency. For more information about the electric utility industry’s energy efficiency programs and services, please click on www.getenergyactive.org.