Summertime Tips for Saving Energy From Alabama Power
The heat is on, and the dog days of summer are fast approaching. But while the mercury may be rising, there are ways to keep your electric bill from hitting the roof.
Here are some proven ideas to help conserve energy around the house this summer and keep your electricity costs down.
Your air conditioner is the biggest user of electricity in your home during the summer. In many homes, air conditioning costs can account for more than half the electric bill.
*** Set the thermostat at 78 degrees or slightly higher and leave it there. You can save between 3 percent and 5 percent of your cooling costs for every degree you raise the temperature above 75 degrees, depending on how well your house is insulated.
*** Raise the thermostat even higher when away from the home for extended periods, but not more than five degrees higher (it takes more energy to cool down the house when the temperature is set too high).
*** Clean or change your air conditioner filter regularly. A dirty filter cuts down on air flow and reduces efficiency. Clear away overgrown grass or plants around outdoor air conditioning units.
*** When buying a new air conditioning unit or heat pump, select one with a higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit. Experts generally recommend a 12 SEER.
Proper insulation can make a big difference in keeping a house warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer. Insulation is measured in R-value. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.
*** Add insulation in the attic. Better attic insulation can save as much as 30 percent on cooling and heating costs. Experts recommend insulation with an R-value of R-30 in ceiling areas.
*** Make sure exterior windows and doors close snugly. Apply weather stripping and caulking where needed.
Keeping cool in the kitchen
There are a number of ways you can cut down on energy use in the kitchen during summer.
*** Instead of heating up the stove on hot days, try cool summer salads and other cold dishes. Or use the microwave. If you are using the oven, avoid opening the door, which can let out 20 percent of the heat. Use a cooking timer instead. When using the stovetop, choose pans that match the size of the burners. This cuts down on heat lost to the air.
*** Use the dishwasher only when you have a full load. Smaller loads use just as much water and power. If you don't need the dishes right away, turn off the heated drying cycle.
Curtains, lights and ceiling fans Some other energy-saving ideas:
*** Close drapes or blinds during the day to reduce heat from direct sunlight. Use fans to circulate air. Install ceiling fans (clockwise rotation) in rooms you use the most.
*** Use fluorescent lights instead of incandescent lamps when possible. Fluorescent lights last about 10 times longer and produce more light for the same amount of energy. If you're working in only one part of the room, use smaller lamps that light only your work area.
*** When redecorating, use lighter colors on the walls, curtains or upholstery. Lighter colors reflect light, while darker colors absorb heat and require more artificial light.
Alabama Power owns and operates 14 hydroelectric plants in Alabama, providing clean, low-cost energy. Alabama Power provides affordable, reliable electric service to 1.3 million customers in the lower two-thirds of Alabama. Alabama Power is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company
For more information about saving energy and cutting your electric bill, contact your local Alabama Power office or call Alabama Power at 1-800-990-APCO (2726)
SOURCE: Alabama Power
Contact: Darya Braggs of Alabama Power, 205-257-4155, or