Even though this is the first official week of summer, it’s already sweltering with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 90s in Northwest Florida with above-normal temperatures predicted throughout the summer season.
Summer temperatures mean AC units run longer and harder, which can mean higher electricity bills. Gulf Power customers can still stay cool and help keep their electricity bill in check by following these helpful tips and strategies:
Get more power at your fingertips with MyGulfPower.com
Keep track of your energy consumption and view the amount of electricity bought on a daily basis, or set up customized alerts through MyGulfPower.com. The features of MyGulfPower.com allow customers to cut back or adjust energy needs to better control their monthly bill. Customers must have an online account or can create an account under “My Account.”Customers will have the ability to:
- View the amount of electricity used on a monthly or daily basis on an easy-to-read bar graph
- Create customized alerts and notifications about daily or month-to-date electricity use
- Know how much you are being billed each day and avoid the “end-of-the month surprise
- View an estimated projection of your bill during the month
- View how weather impacts your bill
- Customers can receive energy efficiency tips
Set your thermostat and leave it
During the summer, your air conditioner is the biggest consumer of electricity. For many homes, it accounts for more than half of the summer electricity bill. Making small changes to the way you use your thermostat can go a long way in saving energy.
- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. For every degree below that setting, you’ll use 10 percent more electricity on the cooling portion of your electricity bill.
- Set the thermostat even higher when at work or away from home for long periods of time, but no more than five degrees higher.
- Change or clean your air conditioner filter regularly. Dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce efficiency. Also, clear away objects that may be blocking indoor a/c vents such as chairs, furniture or pillows.
- Use your ceiling fan for more comfort. Only turn it on when you’re in the room. Ceiling fans only cool people, not rooms.
- Let your air conditioner breathe. Clear outside AC units of weeds, plants or brush so they can run more efficiently.
- Avoid placing lamps or television sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat can sense heat from these appliances.
- Speaking of thermostats, turn down the temperature of your water heater to at least 120 degrees. You’ll not only save energy, you can avoid scalding temperatures.
- Keep the blinds closed on the sunny side of your home during the day and open at night. This is a no-cost way to keep your home a little cooler.
Energy Select is an advanced energy management and pricing program offered by Gulf Power that can help you save money and energy.
- A thermostat you program for comfort and savings
- Online Programming - You can now program your Energy Select thermostat from any computer with internet access.
- A special rate that features four different prices based upon the time of day, day of week and season. And, because the price you pay is lower than the normal rate 87 percent of the time, you can choose to buy electricity during lower-priced periods, which saves you money and energy.
- FREE installation
- Seal up your cooling system and maximize efficiency so hot air can’t sneak into your home through doors, walls or a poorly insulated attic. Make sure there are no tiny holes in your ducts that could cause your air conditioner to work harder.
- Increase attic insulation, which can save you up to 30 percent on cooling and heating costs.
- Insulation is measured in R-value, which is a measure of resistance to heat flow. So the higher the R-value, the better the insulation value.
- Experts recommend you use an R-value of R-38 in ceiling areas.
- Check your windows and doors for air leaks. Install weather stripping or caulking if needed.
- Choose the right size refrigerator for your needs. Larger models use more energy. Open and close the refrigerator door quickly. Know what you want before opening the door.
- Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Check it by closing a piece of paper in the door, half in and half out. If you can pull the paper out easily, you may need to make some adjustments or replace the seal.
- Keep your food covered. Moisture buildup in the refrigerator makes the air inside harder to cool.
Dryer and Dishwasher
- Run the dishwasher, dryer and the stove after the sun goes down to avoid adding heat to your house.
- When using the dishwasher, turn off the drying cycle if you don’t need dishes right away.
- Wait until the dishwasher is full before running it. Partial loads can use just as much water and power as a full load.
- Wash clothes in cold water and make sure to clean the filter after each use.
- One of the best ways to save energy is to turn off lights that aren’t in use.
- Use fluorescent lighting or CFLs when possible. They last about 10 times longer than incandescent lamps. And, they can produce four times more light than standard incandescent lamps for the same amount of energy.
- Use one large bulb instead of several small ones in areas where bright light is needed.
- Use smaller lamps in work areas, like sewing areas and computer desks, so you don’t light the entire room.
- Lighter-colored walls, drapes, blinds and upholstery reflect light. Dark colors absorb heat and require more artificial light.
Customers can get a free Energy Checkup online or at your home with an appointment. Gulf Power energy experts will analyze your house and electricity use, and look for ways to make your home more energy efficient. Just go to www.MyGulfPower.com or call 1-877-655-4001.
Gulf Power is an investor-owned electric utility with all of its common stock owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company. Gulf Power serves more than 436,000 customers in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida. The company’s mission is to safely provide exceptional customer value by delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity while strengthening our communities. Visit online at MyGulfPower.com or on the company’s Facebook page. News information can be found at GulfPowerNews.com.