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June 16, 2014

Put the summer energy bill on ice

Ada —

Temperatures might be warming up, but that does not mean your home energy bills have to head for the rafters during the summer months. 

Cooling your house accounts for about 50 percent of your energy use in the summer; the good news is there are several easy, low- or no-cost strategies you can use to reduce your bill.

Knowing how to efficiently operate your thermostat can play a role in decreasing your energy bill. One of the simplest strategies is to set the thermostat to 78 degrees.

While you are at work or sleeping, you can adjust the thermostat even higher. Similarly, if you’re going to be away from the house for extended periods, you can set the temperature a few degrees higher to save energy. Programmable thermostats can make controlling your home’s temperature easy.

It helps if your house is equipped with ceiling fans because you can boost the thermostat about 4 F without losing any comfort.  Just remember fans cool people, not rooms. They work by wind chill, so it’s important to turn them off when you leave the room.

Also, make sure furniture or other items are not interfering with airflow from the registers. Be mindful of placing items such as lamps and televisions near the thermostat. If the thermostat picks up the heat from appliances and electronics, it could cause the air conditioner to run longer.

Keep in mind, turning the thermostat to a colder-than-normal setting could negatively affect your energy bill.

The house won’t cool any faster if you set the thermostat lower than normal. In fact, it may end up making it too cold in the house, and in the process, you could end up inflating your energy costs.

Two more energy-saving strategies include sealing leaky doors, windows, cracks or other openings to keep hot air from seeping inside, as well as cutting down on activities that may generate increased heat in your home.

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