The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outlook for the summer months shows that the Eastern Shore of Virginia is slightly favored to have a summer that is warmer than normal.
A&N Electric Cooperative urges its members to take step to deal with summer temperatures and to monitor their energy use to help control their electricity costs.
In the summer, air conditioning uses a large chunk of your home energy dollar. Make sure your system is operating properly by having a HVAC technician check to verify your system is moving the correct amount of air and that your system is properly charged. They can also check for duct leaks. Leaks that are found should be sealed. Air escaping through leaks is not keeping you cool and is costing you more money. Return filters should be checked monthly and changed when necessary.
“During extremely hot weather, your cooling system will work harder to close the gap between higher outdoor temperature and the cooler thermostat setting inside your home,” said A&N Electric Cooperative Communications Specialist Jay Diem.
To reduce the difference in temperature between the two, and lower your cooling costs, set the thermostat as high as you can while maintaining your comfort level. The cooperative recommends 78 degrees, but understands members’ comfort levels vary.
Using a ceiling fan in conjunction with your air conditioning can allow you to increase the thermostat setting to about four degrees higher with little to no reduction in comfort levels. Just remember that ceiling fans help cool people, not spaces. A ceiling fan running in an unoccupied room is not helping you save on your cooling bill. Turn off the fan when you leave the room.
During the hottest months, it’s more critical to replace any remaining incandescent bulbs with LEDs. The waste heat the old bulbs produce impacts energy use and creates wasteful and unwanted heat. This is heat that works against your cooling system.
When able, cook outdoors on a grill. The heat an oven and stovetop produce can also work against your cooling system. Using a microwave instead of the stove is another way to reduce heat produced in your home.
An easy, no cost solution to reducing your cooling needs are to close window curtains and shades during the day to help keep heat out of your home.
You can also invest in a programmable thermostat to adjust the settings a few degrees higher when no one is home or when your family is sleeping.
How you use hot water in your home can also contribute to your energy bill. Your water heater works with many of your home’s other systems. Make sure your water heater is set to the recommended 120° F. Try washing clothes with cold water, use warm or hot water for very dirty loads only.
Co-op members who have questions about their energy use are urged to call one of the cooperative’s member services representatives at 787-9750. They are happy to discuss your energy use, and if needed, schedule an in-home audit to try and identify areas to help you save.
For more information, and ways to save on your energy bill, log onto www.anec.com.