Tip that can help save on your summer electric bill

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Now that summer's here, electric bills will be going up. However, consumers can take a number of no-cost and low-cost steps that will help keep energy costs in check.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) offers a number of consumer tips for reducing summer electric bills.

Among the tips:

Unplug chargers for cell phones and other devices when you're not using them. Power strips can help.

Set the thermostat at the highest comfortable temperature and raise it a few degrees if you'll be leaving the house for more than 5 hours.

Move lamps, TVs and appliances away from the thermostat.

Turn off all lights, TVs, computers and other appliances you're not using. Use timers when you go on vacation.

If you use exhaust fans, only use them for very short periods of time.

Use ceiling fans only when you are in the room, and make sure they are set to turn counter-clockwise.

Close blinds, shades and draperies, as well as storm doors and windows.

Have your HVAC system serviced by a professional, for both efficiency and safety purposes. Be sure the filter is clean, and make sure the vents are not blocked by furniture or rugs.

If you haven't checked your attic's insulation in a few years, it's time to give it a look.

Wait until evening to use the oven or dishwasher, to do laundry, or to use other large appliances. Use a microwave or toaster for cooking during the day.

Clean the coils on your refrigerator. Also, close your refrigerator and freezer doors on a dollar bill. If you can easily pull the bill out, the gaskets are too loose and are letting cold air escape.

If you have a second refrigerator in your garage or basement, consider getting rid of it. If it is in working condition, some utilities will haul it away at no charge and will even pay you for the old appliance.

Make sure your clothes dryer vent isn't clogged.

Make sure your water heater isn't set too high. 115 or 120 degrees is hot enough for most households.

Compact fluorescent (CFL) and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs use much less energy and emit much less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Enroll in your utility's air conditioning load management program if available.

For a copy of the OUCC's "Reduce Your Summer Electric Bill" fact sheet, visit www.IN.gov/OUCC or call the agency toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.

For more specific recommendations for saving energy, many residential electric customers can receive home energy assessments from Energizing Indiana at no extra charge. To learn more and sign up if you qualify, visit www.energizingindiana.com or call 1-888-446-7750 toll-free. A number of utilities also offer online energy audits on their websites.

"A home energy assessment can play a major role in helping consumers find ways to save energy that they otherwise might not have known about," said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler. "The beginning of summer is an annual reminder for all of us to use electricity more wisely and to take advantage of the many ways to save."

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