Keeping energy costs low during summer months
Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 29, 2017
In the summer, many air conditioning units work overtime to make keep up with the Mississippi heat, which can cause energy bills to skyrocket. Heating and cooling makes up approximately 52 percent of a home’s annual electric bill, Scott White, Coast Electric’s senior residential energy representative of Pearl River County, said. To help people keep those costs down, he shared some tips to keep the home cool, while affordably managing energy use.
“One of the most misconstrued myths about saving money on your electric bill is using ceiling fans to cool the house. Ceiling fans cannot change the temperature of your home. All that is doing is kicking around dust,” White said.
However, he did say ceiling fans can play a part in lowering energy cost. White said that by setting the thermostat to the highest tolerable temperature and using the ceiling fan in an occupied room, customers can lower their electricity bill.
“The fan’s only purpose is to make you feel cooler as the air hits your skin. Once you leave a room, turn off the fan because it isn’t doing any good when you are not underneath it,” he said.
Another way to lower energy bills is to change the air filters in the HVAC system every month. If the air filter is not clean, contaminants will pass through the filter and cause the AC unit to work inefficiently. White said an easy way to remember to change the air filters is to use the monthly power bill as a reminder.
And in the middle of the summer it is important to draw the blinds and curtains to prevent solar heat from building inside the home. The major issue with solar heat is that it heats up everything from the carpet to the air, White said. This will make the AC system work harder to lower the indoor temperature. Weather stripping window units, doors and windows will ensure less heat gets into the home.
In older homes, check that the attic insulation is adequate to maintain the temperature. White said attic insulation should be 10 to 12 inches thick, which is usually not the case in older homes.
If a homeowner is following all of these steps, but is still experiencing high energy bills, the issue could lie within the HVAC system. White said it is important to get the unit serviced at least once per year, preferably in the spring before the summer months.
Another tip to keep energy costs low is to wash full loads of laundry with cold water and use the moisture sensor setting on the dryer if available, White said.
For more information on how to be energy efficient during the summer, visit Coast Electric’s website at www.coastepa.com.