With the unofficial start of summer kicking off this Memorial Day weekend, Walton EMC reminds customer-owners that grilling out can help you beat the heat — and use less electricity.
Cooking inside using an oven consumes electricity and generates extra heat inside your home, causing your air conditioner to work harder to cool down. Grilling outdoors keeps the hot air outside and reduces your energy usage.
Here are nine more ideas from Walton EMC’s energy advisors to better manage your power bill this summer:
Conduct a DIY home energy evaluation.
Give your AC a checkup.
When dust and debris accumulate in your air conditioning unit, it reduces airflow. This forces your cooling system to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. According to energy.gov, monthly cleaning or replacement of an air conditioner filter alone can save 5 to 15 percent in energy use. For the average Walton EMC homeowner, this can result in home cooling cost savings averaging $7–$20 every single month. To further promote airflow, check the vents both on the unit itself and throughout your home. And don’t forget to clear away weeds or vines that may obstruct airflow to the condenser unit outside your home, too.
Adjust your thermostat.
If your version of “adjusting the thermostat” is furiously pressing the down arrow on the temperature setting, you’re asking for a high electricity bill. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting air conditioning at 78 degrees when you’re home and setting it higher when the home is unoccupied. Installing a programmable thermostat will further optimize your thermostat settings for energy efficiency.
Use ceiling fans strategically.
Instead of cooling your entire home with solely an air conditioner, save money and stay comfortable by using ceiling fans. Ceiling fans circulate the air to create a draft throughout the room. Used with air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees with no reduction in comfort.
Change your bulbs.
Lighting represents about 4 to 5 percent of your household electric bill. One of the simplest ways to trim lighting costs is by changing to LEDs. LEDs last up to 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use about a sixth as much electricity. An important note for summer: 90 percent of the energy used by an incandescent bulb is given off as heat rather than light, which can contribute to your home’s temperature. The EPA estimates that a typical household would save more than $200 each year by switching to LEDs throughout the house. For a step-by-step walk through to find replacement LED bulbs for every need, visit the Energy Star web site.
Lower your water heating costs.
Water heating accounts for about 12 percent of the energy consumed in your home. Lowering the temperature of your water heater can help save energy. Besides, who needs a scalding hot shower in the summer anyway? Try setting your water heater temperature close to 110 degrees.
Mind the laundry.
Washers and dryers are a huge suck on energy. To cut corners on your summer electric bill and save extra money, use cold water instead of warm water to wash your clothes. This will reduce the energy required to supply the machine with the heat it uses to clean. Also, consider skipping the dryer and instead hang your clothes on a line to dry outside in the sunshine.
Track your energy use.
Use myWaltonEMC.com to track and manage your energy use. This online portal, which is available to every co-op customer-owner, allows you to see your home’s energy use by the hour and day, and also see how weather affects your energy bill. For info on the go or bill paying convenience, download the mobile app from the App Store or from Google Play.
Level out your bills.
If the peaks of summer electric bills are tough on your budget, sign up for Walton EMC’s Levelized Billing option. It allows residential customers to pay nearly the same amount on their Walton EMC bill each month, removing the month-to-month fluctuations caused by changing weather, changing energy use and other factors.
By putting at least a few of the tips on this list into action, you should be pleasantly surprised by the impact they have on your monthly electric bill. Finding ways to save consistently will make the summertime even better.