Whether it is the dog days of summer or the bitter cold of winter, extreme temperatures can impact your utility bill — and your wallet. Taking a few simple steps can help you manage those extremes and save money.
Here are a few quick tips that can help, no matter the season:
- Operate thermostats efficiently. The ideal summer setting is 78 degrees, and the ideal winter setting is 68 degrees. For each degree below or above those recommended settings, you can add as much as 3% to your utility bill. So, if you crank the A/C down to a brisk 70, you’ve already added an extra 24%.
- Buy a programmable thermostat. As energy use rises, costs also rise. Program these thermostats to run at a more energy-efficient temperature when you’re away from home.
- Use fans to circulate air. Ceiling fans, box fans and oscillating fans use very little electricity to circulate the air, which helps you feel several degrees cooler. And switching the direction of your ceiling fan in the winter draws hot air down to help you feel warmer. But remember – fans are for people, not rooms. To save more energy, turn them off when you leave.
- Close blinds, shades and curtains to keep the sun out and cool air in. Close air conditioning vents in rooms that are not in use. And in the winter, open those same blinds, shades and curtains to let the warmth of the sun help heat up your rooms.
- Seal cracks and holes around doors, windows and ductwork. Weather stripping and caulk will help keep cold air in and hot air out.
- Lower your water-heating costs. Water heating accounts for about 18% of home energy use. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120 degrees). Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes, and consider hand or air drying both dishes and clothing. Take short showers instead of baths.
- Unplug electronics when away from home Some appliances and devices use energy — known as phantom energy — even when turned off.
- Use LEDs. Replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs (light-emitting diodes), which provide the same amount of light, use up to 75% less energy and can last up to 10 times longer.
- Invest in energy-efficient equipment. Always look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol, which indicates it meets federal standards for energy efficiency.
And to help keep your bill on an even keel each month so you can better manage your budget, we encourage you to sign up for our Level Billing program. Learn more here.
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