During these hot and steamy summer days, it’s easy to want to set the thermostat low.
But when you’re on a budget, your monthly bill can bring unwelcomed surprises.
Here are some tips from AEP Ohio and some tips from my own personal experiences on how you can save a few bucks while keeping cool. For more tips, go to www.aepohio.com. The company also offers a consumption calculator on its Web site that allows you to plug in numbers to determine areas where you can cut back on your electricity usage.
• If you own a home, plant shade trees nearby to control the amount of heat that reaches your house.
• Repair and weathertrip air leaks in the home. According to AEP, about 10 to 25 percent of energy used to cool homes escapes via leaks.
• Install a programmable thermostat. When at home, set it at the highest you can comfortably tolerate. But when away, set it at a higher temperature. There’s no need to cool a home no one is in.
• While at home, maintain consistent temperatures.
• Shade your windows with light-colored shades to reflect heat.
• Close draperies and shades on windows to block sunlight and heat during the day. If my blinds are open in my apartment during the hot afternoons, the temperature in the living room is a good 10 degrees warmer than in the bedroom – making my air conditioner work that much harder.
• Move furnishings away from floor or return air vents.
• Avoid using heat-producing appliances such as ovens or dryers during the hottest parts of the day.
• Take advantage of cool nights. If the night air doesn’t bother your allergies, open those windows and turn off the air conditioner. If your allergies are bothering you like mine are, turn up the thermostat at night, especially if the evening air is cool.