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Keep your electric bill in the comfort zone

The hot days of summer are right around the corner, and higher temperatures lead to higher energy usage. That means you can expect your electric bill to climb some from its mild springtime level.

Don’t worry though. There are plenty of simple steps you can take to keep your budget in the comfort zone. Even simple, inexpensive actions can result in significant energy savings.

TAP THE APP Understanding how much power you’re using, and when you’re using it, is the first step to managing summertime consumption. Use the free myWaltonEMC app to track and manage your energy use from any mobile device.

SCHEDULE AN HVAC TUNE-UP Proper upkeep can keep your cooling system running efficiently. In fact, servicing your system every spring and fall can save as much as 10 percent on your electric bill.

DON’T FORGET THE FILTER A dirty air filter slows airflow and makes your HVAC equipment work harder, possibly even leading to early system failure.

OPTIMIZE THERMOSTAT SETTINGS Installing a programmable thermostat, which will automatically adjust temperature settings while you’re away, can save as much as 10 percent on cooling bills.

GET SERIOUS ABOUT SEALING Preventing air leaks (don’t forget to check the basement and attic) is one of the best ways to keep warm air out and cool air in.

ENJOY EFFICIENT ENTERTAINMENT Avoid using gaming consoles to stream movies and TV shows. These devices can draw 10 to 25 times more electricity than devices like the Apple TV, Roku box or Amazon Fire Stick.

CHANGE YOUR BULBS Trade older, inefficient incandescent bulbs for LEDs. LEDs last up to 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use about a sixth as much electricity.

FAN YOURSELF A ceiling fan can make a room feel 10 degrees cooler and uses only 10 percent of the energy as compared to a traditional air conditioner.

AVOID THE OVEN Cooking with a conventional oven can raise the indoor temperature by 10 degrees, forcing your air conditioner to work harder. Plan meals that can be cooked with a microwave or slow cooker. Better yet, consider cooking outside on the grill.

CLOSE THE CURTAINS In the summer, most of the sunlight that falls on standard windows enters the home to become heat. Closing curtains or blinds on southern- and western-facing windows can help reduce daytime heat gain inside your home by 45 percent.

OPT FOR LEVELIZED BILLING 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.