Ten tips to cut back on summer energy bills

| by Teena Hammond
Ten tips to cut back on summer energy bills

Cutting back on summer energy bills is commonplace, but no one wants to suffer in the sweltering heat. Luckily, it's easy to strike a balance between keeping cool and keeping cash in your wallet.

To achieve this balance, experts share their tips with PGH on how to cut back on utility bills this season:

  • Set your thermostat at 78 — setting it at 73 degrees, for instance, instead of 78 can increase operating costs by 50 percent. Program digital thermostats appropriately for when the house is unoccupied.
  • Don't try to cool your house off quickly at a very low thermostat setting when you first arrive home after work. Choose the regular temperature setting because an HVAC unit cools just as fast at 78 degrees as it does at 65 degrees.
  • Close all shades, drapes and blinds during the day.
  • Change the air conditioner filter each month. The best performing unit won't perform up to par with a dirty filter.
  • Set the air-conditioning thermostat's "fan" setting on "auto" instead of "on" — this keeps humidity lower to make the house more comfortable.
  • Create a tight building envelope by sealing around doors and windows — this helps maintain steady indoor temperatures during every season. Outside doors need resealing if a dollar bill can be slipped between the door and frame with little resistance.
  • Insulate the hot water heater and pipes going into it, and keep it set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Insulate not just the attic, but also the attic door.
  • Plug appliances that are always on into power strips so that they can be turned on and off as needed. This includes DVD players, cell phone chargers and TV's.
  • Change light bulbs — use compact fluorescent bulbs or LED lights.

Sources: Andy Holzhauser, executive director, Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, Cincinnati, Ohio; Brian Kearney, CEO, Neponset Valley Construction in Norwood, Mass.

Topics: Appliances, Heating & Cooling, Lighting, Windows

Teena Hammond
Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.

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