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Tips to keep energy bills low this summer

Photo courtesy of TeleSouth Communications Inc.

It’s summertime in Mississippi and heat indices are breaking triple digits. Entergy Mississippi says that for every degree the thermostat is lowered below 78 degrees, the bill can go up as much as 3%.

So, if the air conditioner gets cranked down to 72 degrees, it could increase the bill by 18%. To keep from getting a stroke when the bill comes in, here are a few tips that can help lower your summer energy bills. 

  • Get your A/C inspected. Inspectors can make sure your system is leak-free and operating as efficiently as possible. After all, your air conditioning and heating usage makes up more than half of your bill during the summer and winter months. Get incentives of up to $100 with a tune-up.
  • Change air filters regularly. Some units require monthly cleaning or replacing.
  • Buy a programmable thermostat. As energy usage rises, costs also rise. If you spend most of your day outside of the house, set your thermostat to automatically shut off or raise the A/C setting when you are away.
  • Use fans to cool off, but remember – fans cool people, not rooms. Ceiling fans, box fans, and oscillating fans use very little electricity and circulate the air, which helps you feel several degrees cooler. Just remember to turn them off when you leave the room.
  • Close blinds, shades, and curtains to keep the sun out and the cool air in. Also, close air conditioning vents in rooms that are not in use.
  • Seal cracks and holes around doors, windows, and ductwork. Weather stripping and caulk will help keep the cold air inside the house and the hot air outdoors.
  • If your water seems very hot, you can turn it down to medium setting to save energy, around 120 degrees. That is fine for dishwashers and washing machines.  Wash with cold water when possible. Your electric water heater costs make up about 20 percent of your electric bill.
  • Use toaster ovens or crock pots to prevent heating up your house with your stove and oven.
  • Use lower wattage bulbs or LED bulbs to save energy. Lights do not use a lot of electricity, but it all adds up. 

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