How to Lower Your Cooling Costs
It's been a scorcher this summer. July was the hottest month on record for several cities, according to The Weather Channel, and triple-digit temperatures continue to plague America's heartland.
So what do you do if you live in a part of the nation taking a beating from this heat wave? You retreat indoors and crank up the AC. Then you gasp when you see the electric bill.
Keeping cool doesn't have to bankrupt you, though. Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the association of shareholder-owned electric companies, offers these five simple, no-cost tips to help you keep your electric bill under control:
Set the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher when you're home. That's where I keep my thermostat set, and I feel comfortable working at home all day -- even when the heat index outside is in the triple digits. When no one is home, turn up the thermostat to 85 degrees. You'll save 1% to 2% on cooling costs for each degree you raise your thermostat, according to EEI. And be sure to clean your air filter every 30 days to keep your air-conditioning system working efficiently.
Close the curtains or shades on any south- or west-facing windows to save 2% to 4% on cooling costs.
Turn on ceiling and table fans then raise the thermostat setting about four degrees -- you'll still feel cool. Make sure ceiling fans are turning counterclockwise and use them only when you're in the room.
Shut doors to unused rooms and close any air supply vents inside them to save up to 3% on cooling costs.
Check out your power company’s Web site because all electric companies offer money-saving tips, and many have energy-saving programs and incentives, including free online energy audits.