With Summer Temps on the Rise, Take Steps to Beat the Heat
Starkville Utilities offers energy-saving tips to help lower cooling bills
As weather watchers forecast a hotter-than-average summer for most of the contiguous U.S., Starkville Utilities is helping customers improve energy efficiency and cost savings with tips from its Beat the Heat initiative.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center recently released its three-month forecast for June, July and August that projects above-normal temperatures for Mississippi.
“We always expect higher cooling bills in the summer, but there are steps we all can take to better manage energy use and costs,” said Edward Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “Our Beat the Heat initiative offers a variety of strategies to improve efficiency and lower cooling expenses. The more adjustments we make, the more we can save during hot weather.”
A great way to start saving is by keeping thermostats set at 78°F. For each degree you raise the thermostat above 72°F, you can save up to 3% on cooling expenses, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Here are more simple steps to increase home energy efficiency during hot weather.
- Operate thermostats efficiently. 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.
- 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.
- Unplug electronics to prevent them from sucking up all your summer energy. Unplugging your chargers, TV, computer and other small electronics when not in use can save up to $100 a year, according to the Department of Energy.
- 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. Close air conditioning vents in rooms that are not in use.
- Lower your water-heating costs. Water heating accounts for about 18% 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. Washing and rinsing clothes with cold water can save around $200 annually. Also, take short showers instead of baths.
“The best part about our Beat the Heat tips is that they’re easy to do and cost very little, if anything, to implement,” said Kemp. “Customers can recoup the cost of energy-saving improvements they make to their homes through lower monthly bills.”
Customers may visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website at www.energy.gov and select “Save Energy, Save Money” for information about improving home energy efficiency.
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.