Maintaining electric bills in the heat of summer

It’s HOT!

How hot is it?

It is so HOT that your electric bill keeps going up, uP and UP.

But this is no laughing matter. Our electric bills keep taking money that you need for everything else in life. Here are three easy to tips to help save some of that money.

First, Maintain our Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment. How long has it been since you checked your HVAC’s air filter? Changing your air filter leads to cleaner, fresher air circulating through your home, and improves the efficiency of your HVAC system by allowing air to flow consistently while using less energy. A good practice is to change it every month. Find the large grill in the living area or hallway that is in a door, wall, or ceiling. It has a hinged door that you open by pulling down on two tabs or just by pulling out on the side opposite the hinges. The filter is right behind the grill and just pulls out. If you don’t know the size you may have to open, read the dimensions on the filter, then pick one up at a home improvement store. Replace it with the cheapest paper air filter, no need for expense fancy filters. The side of the paper filter will have arrows showing that the arrow (air flow) goes into cold air return box. Close it up and you are ready for another month.

Next, rethink your laundry. About 90 percent of the energy required to operate a clothes washer goes into heating the water. By switching your water temperature setting from hot to cold, you can cut your energy use by more than half. When drying your clothes, a lower heat setting uses less energy. Try setting the dryer to a lower heat setting and running it for a longer period of time. Or skip the dryer altogether and hang your clothes up to dry.

Finally, check the weatherstripping around your exterior doors. If torn, has holes or missing it should be replaced. Home Depot, Lowes, or Ace Hardware will have weatherstripping and you can match what you have and ask the salesclerk how it is installed. Most doors have weatherstripping that you can just punch the weatherstrip and pull it out of a grove along the stop of the door jam. To replace you slide the new weatherstrip into the grove and cut it to fit with a pair of scissors. Other kinds of weatherstripping may need to be screwed or nailed in place which you can do or get someone to help you.

These are all simple tasks that can make a big difference on your electric bill. If you would like to learn more about these energy saving tips, come out and volunteer with us and we can show you how you can do them yourself while helping others. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer. -Bruce Winter