Reducing energy use reduces bills
August 5, 2022
South Central Power employees provide tips to help you save
When temperatures go up in summer, it increases the amount of energy use in homes and other spaces. Even if you don’t change the thermostat, the AC unit has to work harder just to keep your space at the same temperature. Finding ways to keep the cool air where it’s supposed to be lowers the bill in the long run.
What can members do to combat the higher bill that goes along with higher energy use? We asked our member service team and our energy advisors that question, and the answer, they say, is to find ways to reduce the energy you use.
The member service team suggests that members start by reviewing their daily electric usage on the South Central app or My Account section of the website. This feature is very insightful because the daily readings also show the outside temperature, which often correlates with the usage.
Looking at usage on an hour-by-hour basis can highlight peak usage times that the member may truly be unaware of. Many people forget how much usage it takes to get the whole family fed, showered, and ready for bed.
In the summer months, a pool or hot tub or even window AC unit may constantly be running, which could have a significant impact on usage.
Some questions to ask yourself to help evaluate your usage: How do I heat or cool my home? Do I use space heaters, electronic decorative fireplaces (which are space heaters!), or heat pumps? Do I hear my AC unit running constantly? Do I heat or cool my garage? Do I charge a diesel vehicle or EV? Do I have a new appliance or older appliances? How old are my windows and do they have cracks or loose caulk?
Save electricity, save money
Energy Advisors Jacob Atkins and Kyle Hurles provide these tips
- Use a fan to cool off. This will reduce energy consumption significantly. Fans don’t cool the air — they pull heat away from your skin and can be used in conjunction with air conditioning, letting you raise your thermostat a few degrees and still remain comfortable.
- Close doors and vents. Closing doors and AC vents in rooms that are not in use can help make your cooling system more efficient. By not wasting energy cooling rooms that no one is in, you’ll use less energy to keep comfortable.
- Unplug devices. Unplugging devices from their respective outlets or using smart power strips can help reduce energy costs by eliminating phantom electricity that appliances, chargers, and standard power strips use, even when not in use.
- Block the sun with blinds and shades. Pulling blinds or shades fully down when sunlight is directly hitting windows will reduce heat gain in the home, which will allow your AC to run less often.
- Keep windows sealed. Update windows in an older home as needed.
- Keep an eye on insulation. If it’s sagging, falling out, or missing, it’s not doing the job it is intended to do.
- Check HVAC ducts. Make sure they are tightly connected and not damaged.
- Time of day matters. If you’re going to be doing a lot of cooking, cleaning, laundry, or household work, try to do it early morning or late in the evening when it’s the coolest. All of those household tasks create radiant heat, which heats your home, causing your AC unit to work harder.
If you would like to talk with a member service representative or an energy advisor about ways to reduce your energy use, give us a call at 800-282-5064.
From the August 2022 issue of Ohio Cooperative Living.