Electrical usage is at its’ highest during the summer months and for most homeowners, cooling costs are the largest portion of the utility bill. Here are some energy tips that can help you reduce your energy costs.
- Adjust Thermostat: For central systems, in hot weather, a two degree increase in the thermostat setting can result in cost savings of 5% or more.
- Use Ceiling Fans: Ceiling or floor fans use very little energy and can make the room feel five degrees cooler than the actual temperature.
- Keep Curtains and Blinds Shut: This is especially important for east and west facing windows. Trees, awnings, window tinting and/or solar screens are cost effective measures because they stop direct sunlight before it enters the home.
- Keep the Doors Closed: Contrary to popular belief, most storm doors are not effective as a heat transfer barrier. Try to close the prime door whenever entering or exiting the house.
- Change Air Filters: Clean or change air filters every month on a window unit or a central system. This practice is especially important during heavy usage months. Dirty filters can decrease comfort, cause inefficiency, and may shorten the life of the air conditioner.
- Have Your Air Conditioner Checked: Air conditioners compress refrigerant and then allow it to expand again in order to produce cool air temperatures. If your unit is not properly charged, your bill may skyrocket. To avoid this scenario, have your unit serviced at least every other year and from time to time, take a moment to listen to see how long it runs. If it does not cycle on and off frequently at night or in moderate temperatures, you could be in for a large utility bill. Also, when the unit is serviced, make sure the coils are cleaned and your duct system is checked for air leakage.
- Insulate Attic Access Door: If your home has an attic access door or pull down stairs that are located in conditioned space, make sure they are insulated and weather-stripped. This measure is one of the most cost effective you can take.
- Reduce Moisture: Air conditioners not only cool the air, they also use energy to remove moisture. Homeowners who reduce moisture levels inside the home, will also reduce their cooling costs. Make sure that bath, kitchen, and laundry room exhaust fans are used whenever possible during the summer months. Install gutter extensions to keep rain water away from the house and if you have a crawl space, make sure a plastic sheet covers 100% of the ground area. Flower beds located in contact with the house, may allow rain run-off or water from the hose to seep into the outside walls. It is a good idea to move beds a few feet away from the house if possible.
For additional energy saving tips, visit TVA’s EnergyRight web page.