Proven strategies can add up to big savings on summer cooling bills
Temperatures are on the rise, which means Clarksdale Public Utilities customers are relying more on their air conditioners to stay comfortable indoors. Even though an increase in energy costs is expected during hot-weather months, there are a variety of simple steps that customers can take to lower cooling bills.
“Now is the time for customers to prepare for hot weather by taking action to make their homes more energy efficient,” said Curtis D. Boschert, CPU general manager. “Through our Simple Steps initiative, we are providing proven strategies to save energy and money, not only in the summer but throughout the year.”
A great starting place is the thermostat. During summer months, the ideal setting to maximize cost savings and comfort is 78°F. Every degree that thermostats are raised above 72°F can help customers save up to 3% on cooling expenses, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Other simple steps include waiting until cooler evening hours to use appliances such as clothes dryers, switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, and strategically using ceiling and box fans to circulate cool air.
CPU also offers programs and tools such as Levelized Billing, Pick-A-Due-Date and online resources to help customers better manage their electricity usage and household budgets.
This summer, consider taking these Simple Steps to boost home energy efficiency and lower cooling costs:
• Keep your house warmer than normal when you’re away and lower the thermostat only when you are home. However, avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you return. This won’t cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.
• Keep your cooling system running efficiently by scheduling regular maintenance and changing filters as recommended. Vacuum return vents regularly to remove dust buildup and ensure that furniture and other objects do not block airflow.
• Use fans and other ventilation strategies. A ceiling fan allows you to raise the thermostat setting 4°F with no reduction in comfort. Turn fans off when you leave the room; fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect. Use bathroom fans to remove heat and humidity while bathing and showering. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside, not just to the attic. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation.
• Keep cold air inside and hot air outside. Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home and cold air from escaping. Add caulk or weather-stripping to seal leaky doors and windows.
• Don’t heat your home with appliances and lighting. On hot days, avoid using the oven; cook on the stove, use a microwave or grill outside. Install efficient lighting that runs cooler. Minimize activities that generate excess heat, such as running a computer, burning open flames, running a dishwasher, and using curling irons, hair dryers and other hot devices. Even stereos and TVs will add some heat to your home.
• Close curtains, blinds and shades to block outdoor heat from radiating inside. Try to use light, reflective window coverings to deflect the sun’s rays. Close air conditioning vents in rooms that are not in use.
• Lower your water-heating costs. Water heating accounts for about 18% of home energy use. Adjust your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes, and consider air drying both dishes and clothing. Washing and rinsing clothes with cold water can save around $200 annually. Also, take short showers instead of baths.
• Unplug electronics to prevent them from sucking up all your summer energy. Unplugging your chargers, TV, computer and other small electronics when not in use can save up to $100 a year, according to the Department of Energy.
Customers may visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website at www.energy.gov and select “Save Energy, Save Money” for information about improving home energy efficiency.
Clarksdale Public Utilities is a municipally owned utility serving approximately 6,800 homes and businesses in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Its mission is to safely provide sustainable electric, water and wastewater services in a reliable and courteous manner by well-trained team members, committed to top quality, efficient operations, competitive rates and the vitality of the community.
Learn more at http://cdpu.net.