Beat the Heat with Energy-Saving Tips from Starkville Utilities
Customers can manage energy costs this summer by following a few simple steps
With the arrival of summer only a few days away, Starkville Utilities is launching Beat the Heat to help customers better manage cooling costs during the hottest months of the year.
“Utility bills typically rise during hot weather, and we want customers to know there are strategies they can follow to better manage household energy expenses,” said Terry Kemp, Starkville Utilities general manager. “By taking a few simple steps toward increased energy efficiency, customers can beat the heat while managing their energy costs.”
Through its Beat the Heat initiative, Starkville Utilities is making customers aware of small adjustments that can add up to significant savings, such as keeping thermostats set at 78 degrees, waiting until cooler evening hours to run appliances such as clothes dryers, and using ceiling and box fans to circulate cool air.
By taking these simple steps this summer, customers can increase home energy efficiency and lower cooling costs:
- Operate thermostats efficiently. The ideal thermostat setting in the summer is 78°F. Keep your house warmer than normal when you’re away and lower the thermostat only when you are home. However, avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you return. This doesn’t cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.
- Use fans and other ventilation strategies. A ceiling fan allows you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. Turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room; fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect. When you shower or bathe, use the bathroom fan to remove heat and humidity. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside, not just to the attic.
- Keep your cooling system running efficiently. Schedule regular maintenance. Vacuum return vents regularly to remove dust buildup and ensure that furniture and other objects do not block airflow.
- Keep cold air inside and hot air outside. Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home and cold air from escaping. Add caulk or weather-stripping to seal leaky doors and windows.
- Don't heat your home with appliances and lighting. On hot days, avoid using the oven; cook on the stove, use a microwave or grill outside. Install efficient lighting that runs cooler. Minimize activities that generate excess heat, such as running a computer, burning open flames, running a dishwasher, and using curling irons, hair dryers and other hot devices. Even stereos and TVs will add some heat to your home.
- Close curtains, blinds and shades to block outdoor heat from radiating inside. Try to use light, reflective window coverings to deflect the sun’s rays.
- Lower your water-heating costs. Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of home energy use. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes, and consider air drying both dishes and clothing. Take short showers instead of baths.
“We encourage our customers to be beat the heat this summer by making small, everyday changes in power consumption,” said Kemp. “They are easy to implement and can make a big difference in monthly energy bills.”
Customers may visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website at energy.gov and select “Save Energy, Save Money” for information about improving the energy-efficiency of homes.
Starkville Utilities is a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.