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Medina EC News

Hot Weather, High Bills

Rising temperatures don’t have to mean rising electric use

As temperatures rise with summer heat, cooling systems are working overtime and will be using more electricity than normal. Even if you do not change anything inside your home, your air conditioner has to work harder to maintain the temperature inside as the temperature outside rises.

According to Michael Harkins, one of the cooperative’s energy efficiency experts, “If the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat and the outside temperature are different by 20 degrees or more, then your AC is going to be running almost constantly. That uses a lot of electricity, and many members notice that when they get their bill for cooling during summer months.”

To avoid a higher bill, the best time to make changes is before your bill ever arrives. Since you are billed for electricity after you use it, it is very important to do what you can now to keep next month’s bill lower.

There are some steps you can take to save money when it is warm outside:

AC Settings. Set your AC at the Department of Energy-recommended 78 degrees when you are home. If you can live with it a few degrees higher, try that. Every degree that you raise the setting will save you money. If your body is used to having your AC setting cooler than that, try increasing the setting and leaving it there for a few days. This will help your body adjust to the higher setting. And, while 78 may sound high if you are used to keeping your setting on 72, when you come in from a day where it is 110 outside, 78 feels plenty cool.

Don’t cool an empty house. If you are away from home for several hours or a few days, turn your thermostat up a few degrees so you aren’t paying to cool an empty house. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat, and set it to automatically raise the thermostat setting when you are away from the house. It can then automatically adjust the temperature shortly before you generally arrive home. Medina EC has a rebate program for programmable thermostats and will give you a credit on your bill for part of the purchase price. Learn more at MedinaEC.org/Rebates.
Use fans to cool yourself. Having a fan on can make you feel up to two degrees cooler. Just keep in mind that fans cool people, not rooms, and should be turned off when you leave the room.
Insulate and seal. Make sure you have proper insulation. It will help your home stay cool longer. Adding insulation will also help your home stay warmer in the winter. Be sure to seal any gaps in your home. If you live in a pier and beam home or mobile home, make sure there is insulation under the flooring and proper skirting. The goal is to keep the cool air, which you paid for, in your home and the hot air outside where it belongs.
Monitor your bill. The best way to deal with high bills is to prevent them. Use SmartHub to monitor your daily electric use. This free app helps Medina EC members see their use day by day, so they can make changes as they go instead of being surprised by a high bill.