Summer tips on staying cool at a low price
By Jennifer Ely
Tri-County Electric (TEC) has some great tips to help you save money and keep your home cool during the scorching summer months of June, July and August.
There was a peak energy alert for June 28. TEC’s power supplier, Dairyland Power Cooperative, is experiencing high electric energy use on its power system due to the current heat wave. Past summer heat waves have cost consumers up to $10 per kWh. TEC asks people to help this energy crisis by reducing their electric use during hot, humid weather.
TEC would first like you to try powering down this summer between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the weekdays of June, July and August.
Easy things you can do to help power down are: delaying the dishwasher, turning up the thermostat while away, taking advantage of natural light in your home or office and even shifting the start of the laundry.
Other great tips you can do in the summer to save money and keep you house cool are:
Sealing air leaks
Spending time sealing air leaks will provide your home with cooler temperatures and lower electric bills year-round. Check where your walls meet ceilings and floors for leaks or around doors and windows. Even look in places that seem unsuspicious, such as recessed canister lights and outlets.
If building a new home this year think about planting trees or even a climbing vine around your house.
This not only decorates your home, it also saves you money, too. Trees near your home can save up to 25 percent of a home’s energy use.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “A deciduous tree 6-foot, 8 inch should start to provide shade within its first year of growing.”
Air conditioning units
Some people think the bigger the air conditioner the better. It’s actually the exact opposite. The smaller the air conditioner the better. Whether you have a window unit or a central air conditioning unit, the correct size is key. A unit that is too large for your household can cause inefficiency or even mold problems. Units that are too big can wear out faster and not condition your house correctly.
If you’re looking to buy a new air conditioning system then look at an ENERGY-STAR label. The ENERGY STAR label means that the product has met specific energy efficiency standards set by the federal government.
Brad Pecinovsky, director of member services at TEC, gave some great tips that he uses in his home and office, and recommends consumers try as well.
Avoid baking on hot summer days. Using your oven or stove in 90 degree weather will only cause more heat in your home with less air flow circulation.
Also, while out of the house or room, pull your shades down so the sun isn’t shining directly in your home.
“Ceiling fans are a great way to keep your home cool. The myth is that ceiling fans just blow hot air around, but they could be nothing more than wrong,” Pecinovsky said. Ceiling fans are a great way to make your room circulate more air, enabling the room to not be so stuffy, he added.
“Other minor things you can do is have your air conditioner inspected regularly and filters changed as well.”
For more information, visit the website togetherwesave.com and watch short video clips on how you can keep your home cool in the summer and save money by keeping your electricity bills down.
Matt Blocker, electrician for Caledonia, also has some great tips on how to keep your home cool at a low cost.
“Light bulbs. If you don’t need them, don’t use them. Light bulbs in ceiling fans or above your kitchen that are not necessary are unneeded. Light bulbs create unnecessary heat in your home,” Blocker said.
They use up energy and raise your home temperature. So, if your away and out of the house don’t leave your lights on. Turn them off whenever possible because you’re just creating a higher energy bill and a stuffy, warm home.