Stop Summer Energy Drains
Summer vacation can be a recipe for high electric bills if kids are home all day, a swimming pool is in use, or even just because of extreme temperatures that cause the A/C to run non-stop. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that 9 percent of Americans' household energy costs are dedicated to air conditioning alone, so try these tips to keep costs down when the temperature rises.
More people in the house plus doors hanging open from the last trip to play outside plus high temperatures equals an air conditioning unit that has to work harder to keep the house cool. Be sure to adjust settings to maximize efficiency, such as using the "auto" function instead of keeping the fan running all of the time.
Regular maintenance to keep your air conditioner or heat pump in top working order is a good idea, as is checking and changing the air filter month. A dirty filter causes a unit to work harder to push air and uses more electricity.
Also, set your thermostat as high as you can while still maintaining your comfort level. The smaller the difference between the temperature of the indoor air and the great outdoors, the lower your cooling costs will be. Another way to save is to ensure appliances that put out heat aren't near the A/C thermostat. The heat put out by the appliances can falsely elevate the temperature, causing the unit to run more than necessary.
Avoid 'phantom' load
As they move from one activity to the next, get your family in the habit of turning electronics on and off via power strips. Electronics and appliances often draw power even while turned off. A good indicator of a "phantom load" is if the device has a light that stays on all the time.
Phantom load will add a few watt-hours to energy consumption, but a few watt-hours on each of your many electronic devices adds up. To avoid this silent power draw, unplug the device or use a "smart" power strip, which allows certain electronics (like a cable box, which takes time to reboot after it's been unplugged) to continue using electricity while others can be completely shut down.
Tame the 'hog'
All swimming pools are equipped with an energy 'hog' the pump. The bigger the pump, the higher the power bill. Make sure your pool uses the smallest pump possible. Purchasing a variable-speed pump is also a good way to save. A knowledgeable pool supplier or service person can help you choose a proper pump for your pool's size, filter, and piping.
Greater savings can come from decreasing pump operation time, no matter the pump size. Keep drains clear of debris, or your pump will work harder to circulate water. Also, find a proper balance for backwashing the filter. Too much backwashing wastes water, while too little strains the pump.
Your electric cooperative is a resource
We invite you to visit WCEC's
Energy Savings Center to find out how little measures around the house add up to big energy savings.