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It's Hot, Hot, Hot!

Summer has arrived and with its arrival are increased temperatures and humidity.   Electric and water use can increase, sometimes dramatically.  However, there are many no-cost or low-cost measures that can be taken to manage the cnsumption of electricity and water.

Temperatures have already hit and surpassed the 90 degree mark several days this summer.  Some long range forecasts are calling for more hot days during the remainder of the summer months.  Air conditioning and the use of fans have increased dramatically which will cause electric use and billing to increase.  Dehumidifiers, which can also use a fair amount of electricity, have also been working hard in the humid weather.  Also, water usage may be up as customers are watering landscape, filling pools, and taking more baths/showers.

The following are some tips to help control your electric and water use:

Lighting

  • Keep lighting levels to a minimum.  Too much lighting, especially incandescent bulbs, adds to the heat loading of a building.
  • Switch to compact fluorescent lamps.  They consume less electricity and give off less heat.

Air Conditioning

  • Keep the shades closed during the day.
  • If the temperatures drop at night, open the windows to use some "free cooling".
  • Use fans whenever possible, whether they are box, oscillating, ceiling, etc.  They cost less to operate than central or room air conditioners.
  • Check your furnace filter to make sure it is clean.  A dirty filter causes the air distribution system to work harder as it will block air flow.  Keep the registers free of dust and do not block the registers as it prohibits air movement.
  • Set the air conditioner temperature at 78 degrees.  As the outside temperature rises above 90 degrees, set the inside temperature to be approximately 10 degrees less than the outside temperature.  This reduces heat gain and the air conditioner will operate more efficiently.

General Use

  • If you have a dehumidifier, set it to an appropriate range.  Remember, if you have air conditioning, it will also provide dehumidification.
  • Avoid using the stove top or oven.  When possible use the microwave, crock pot or an outside grill for cooking.
  • Hang your clothes out to dry instead of using the clothes dryer.
  • Keep your refrigerator and/or freezer as full as possible so it operates more efficiently.  If needed, fill empty milk jugs or plastic soda containers with water and put them in the refrigerator and/or freezer to help the unit cool or freeze better.
  • Now is a good time to seal air leaks around the outside of the house.  Use caulking and weatherstripping to provide good seals to prevent unwanted air infilitration.
  • Let your grass grow longer as it will lose less water to evaporation.  If necessary, water your lawn or plants at dusk or very early in the morning to avoid evaporation.  The water will have some time to soak into the soil.
  • Running a sprinkler or filling a small pool is a great way for the kids to cool off.  Just remember that your usage will go up!

If you are looking for more tips on how to save electricity or water, please stop by our office or call in for a free brochure or pamphlet.  Enjoy your summer!