After a very long winter and short spring, the Memorial Day weekend gives us permission to embrace summer. We’ll be shifting from heating to cooling expenses. For most households in Minnesota, our highest electricity bills come in the summer. (Communities up north can be an exception to this.) This is typically due to using air conditioning, which uses a lot of energy. On those hot, humid days you may really need to use the AC, so here are some tips to try to minimize the impact on your electric bill.
- Adjust your air conditioning. The Department of Energy recommends setting the temperature at 78 degrees. This allows you to be energy efficient and still comfortable.
- Use a programmable thermostat to control when your air conditioning turns on and off during the day.
- Take advantage of saver programs offered by your local utility that provide a discount for allowing your utility to cycle your air conditioner on and off during peak energy times.
- Use fans instead of, or with, air conditioners. Fans can make the room feel 4 degrees cooler. The fans make you feel cooler, but they don’t actually cool the air, so turn them off when you leave the room.
- Remove obstacles from air vents and fans to ensure proper air flow throughout your home.
- Avoid placing lamps or TVs near thermostat. Thermostats can detect heat from these appliances and can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
- Open windows in the early morning and evening to allow cool air to flow in. On hot days, close windows and curtains in the day to maintain cool temperatures.
- Use bathroom fans to suck out heat and humidity from bathrooms.
- Avoid cooking, baking, and running appliances, such as a clothes dryer, that generate heat during the warmest parts of the day. It’s a great excuse to do some outdoor cooking and put off some of those household duties!
- If you need to replace your air conditioner, look for an Energy Star rated model- it will use less energy and save you money in the long run. You may also qualify for a rebate from your utility.
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