It is hot outside. Too hot to even go to the pool because the
water's so warm that it doesn't cool you down. So what do you do if
you live in a part of the nation taking a beating from this heat
wave? You retreat indoors and crank up the AC. Then you gasp when
you see the electric bill and start looking for possessions to pawn
to pay it.
Keeping cool doesn't have to bankrupt you, though. Edison
Electric Institute (EEI), the association of shareholder-owned
electric companies, offers these eight simple, no-cost tips to help
you keep your electric bill under control this summer:
Set the thermostat at 78 degrees
or higher when you're home. That's where I keep my thermostat set,
and I feel comfortable working at home all day -- even when the
heat index outside is in the triple digits. When no one is home,
turn up the thermostat to 85 degrees. You'll save 1% to 2% on
cooling costs for each degree you raise your thermostat, according
to EEI. And be sure to clean your air filter every 30 days to keep
your air-conditioning system working efficiently.
Close the curtains or shades
on any south- or west-facing windows to save 2% to 4% on cooling
Turn on ceiling and table fans
then raise the thermostat setting about four degrees -- you'll
still feel cool. Make sure ceiling fans are turning
counterclockwise and use them only when you're in the room.
Shut doors to unused rooms
and close any air supply vents inside them to save up to 3% on
Cook with the microwave
instead of a regular oven to save up to 90% on cooking costs. If
you can stand the heat outside, cook on a grill to lower cooking
costs even more.
Install compact fluorescent lights.
You'll save about 66% on lighting cost per fixture, according to
EEI. Be sure to turn off lights that aren't being used and, if
possible, dim ones that are being used.
Wash and dry full loads of clothes and dishes
to save 2% to 4% on energy costs because you'll be washing fewer
times than if you ran your appliances to wash several smaller
loads. You'll also save by using cold water rather than warm or
Check out your power company's Web site
because all electric companies offer money-saving tips, and many
have energy-saving programs and incentives, including free online
energy audits, rebates for purchasing high-efficiency appliances
and low-interest loans to help purchase high-efficiency
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