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Cut costs on electricity bills during summer - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Cut costs on electricity bills during summer

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CORPUS CHRISTI -

Summer is officially here and that means the heat is on. But beating the heat doesn’t have to break the bank.

There is a variety of easy and budget-friendly energy efficiency measures to save you money.

Running the air conditioning can make an electricity bill skyrocket. Luckily, there are a few ways that you can help your air conditioner run more smoothly and save you money as the summer months progress. One way is by signing up for a home energy audit with your utility provider.

“We check if there is any infiltration coming through windows, doors, or even your light sockets, electrical sockets, and thermostat. We do a blow door test and duct blast to make sure everything is all sealed up and ready to go and make your house more energy efficient,” said Bodine Scott Air Conditioning project manager Fabian Ramos.

For as little as $30, a homeowner with central air conditioning can gain more control over energy use and begin reducing cooling costs by more than 16 percent with a Smart Thermostat.

“It is very beneficial. Because you are not having your house at 72 degrees all day. So versus you trying to program it or actually physically moving that thermostat up and down, it does it automatically. So out of sight, out of mind,” said Ramos. 

Other tips for keeping temperatures and energy costs low in the summer include the following:

Don’t block air flow. Keep air vents clear of obstructions such as furniture, curtains and rugs. For those with central air and floor vents, consider using vent deflectors to direct and increase the reach of cooled air.

Clean or change A-C filters monthly to ensure the air is flowing smoothly throughout your house.

Operate major appliances during the cooler parts of the day. Less heat is generated, and energy is conserved by using appliances like clothes washers and dryers early in the morning or late in the evening, when there is also less demand on the electric system.

Keep blinds closed when it’s hot out to prevent unwanted heat from entering the home through windows. Using curtains, shades, and blinds can lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees.

Switch to LED lights. The energy efficient bulbs run cooler and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lights.

Set ceiling fans to rotate counterclockwise and at a higher speed in the summer to circulate the breeze more effectively, creating a cooling, wind chill effect.

 Look for the ENERGY STAR rating when purchasing new appliances. Also, be sure to choose the right size when purchasing an air conditioning unit. An oversized or undersized AC unit is less effective and wastes energy.

13 percent of your home's electricity goes to heating water. You can lower this percentage, by setting your hot water heater to 130-140 degrees. For even more savings, install an insulation jacket, and insulate the first six feet of piping that comes off of your heater.

Air conditioners, fans, and other appliances work overtime when it’s sweltering outside. This can cause an increase in a home’s energy use and costs. Room air conditioners work most efficiently when kept out of direct sunlight. So, if possible, avoid installing them in south-facing windows. 

To enhance efficiency, increase the temperature on air conditioners, and keep them set at a moderate temperature throughout the day. In addition to programming a thermostat to manage energy use, homeowners can achieve significant savings through routine cooling system maintenance, air sealing, and weatherization measures.

Always set your thermostat to the highest temperature you can stand to save the most money. Even a small change in the temperature can save you big bucks.

You can save 10 percent a year on your cooling bills by setting your thermostat just 10 to 15 degrees higher for eight hours each day. The US Department of Energy recommends aiming for an indoor temperature of 78 degrees F when you're at home.

 Everyone always tells you to keep the fridge closed. But did you know that keeping your fridge and freezer full can also save money? Food acts as insulation and lessens the amount of time that the fridge has to run to stay cool.

A shocking 75 percent of the energy used by home electronics is consumed when they're turned off. These "phantom" users include: televisions, VCRs, stereos, computers and many kitchen appliances—basically anything that holds a time or other settings. A simple solution? Plug all of these items into power strips; then, get in the habit of turning off the strips between uses.

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