Contributed By OPS
OPELIKA — Opelika Power Services and the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority are offering summer energy-saving tips to help citizens save a few dollars. While consumers are feeling the crunch of higher gas prices at the pump, electric utilities are also feeling the pressures of higher natural gas prices for electric generation; thus, consumers will feel these same pressures in higher utility bills.
Fortunately, you don’t have to boil in the summer heat just to save a few bucks. By following these simple summer energy-saving tips, you can keep the temperature, and your budget, well within the comfort zone.
Move the temperature on your air conditioner up a few degrees; 78 degrees is great when you are at home.
Use fans. They make a room feel 4° to 6° cooler.
Run your ceiling fan blades in a counterclockwise direction (as you look up at the fan.) Use a high speed to blow air straight down and get the best effect.
Keep out the sun and hot air by making sure your windows and doors are closed tightly. Close blinds or drapes on windows that get direct sunlight. Shade your outside AC units or condensers.
Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away. Set or program your air conditioning to be 5° warmer when you’re gone for more than four hours.
Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you do turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home down any faster and it wastes energy.
Keep your thermostat within a 20-degree margin of the outside temperature. Remember the “20-degree rule” that air conditioners are designed to cool your home about 15-20 degrees less than the outside temperature. If the difference between the outside temperature and your thermostat setting is more than 20 degrees, then your air conditioner will run non-stop.
Check and/or replace or clean your air filters once a month.
Have your system inspected by a licensed and bonded professional at least twice a year, spring, and fall.
Take short showers or shallow baths.
Use cold water as much as possible when using a dishwasher or washing machine.
Check the setting on your water heater. The recommended setting for our area is 120 degrees. Also check the unit for possible leaks.
Don’t leave hot water running when shaving or rinsing dishes. This will reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the water and save on your water expenses as well.
Wait to wash dishes and clothes until you have a full load.
Install a low-flow shower head or faucet aerator to not only save water but reduce water heating costs.
WASHER, DRYER AND DISHWASHER:
Save money by letting the Alabama heat dry your clothes. Use a clothesline or drying rack instead of the dryer. If your clothes dry a little stiff, use your dryer’s “fluff” cycle (before 2 p.m. or after 7 p.m. on days energy demand is anticipated to be high).
Run your washer, dryer and dishwasher only when they are fully loaded.
Wash your laundry with cold water.
Don’t overfill your dryer. Dry your laundry loads back-to-back and clean the lint filter between loads. This way the dryer is still hot from the previous load, saving energy.
Use the air-dry setting on your dishwasher. The heat-dry setting uses more energy and heats up your home, requiring more air conditioning.
Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs that use a lot of energy to produce light, generate heat and are no longer manufactured. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), halogen incandescents and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) may initially cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they save you money during their lifetime because they use less energy.
Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.
Using a small light when reading is more efficient than brightly lighting an entire room. Also, keep your light bulbs clean and free from dust.
CFLs and LEDs are great for use in outdoor lighting fixtures that are sometimes left on for a long time and may be exposed to weather.