Summertime in Mississippi is undoubtedly hot. We’re talking sweltering. And that means your AC unit is having to work overtime to make up the difference between the outside temperature and the temperature setting on your thermostat. Our energy efficiency experts get questions from our members about why their bills are higher in summer months. After all, they haven’t changed their habits, so why should their bills be higher? The answer is a simple one and it is all about the heating and cooling system in your home. Since heating and cooling your home can make up almost half of your electric bill, bills are higher after the hottest (and coldest) months of the year.
Here are some tips that can help keep your home cool and help you manage your energy use.
1) Block the sun light coming through your windows. Use solar curtains or blinds and cover the windows on the sunny side of the house.
2) Leave your AC unit on. Some people turn their unit off during the day when they are not home and turn it back on at night. That is fine until the outside temperature gets around 90 degrees. The heat builds up moisture in the air and the unit has a hard time getting the moisture out. It also uses a lot of electricity while doing so. Leave the thermostat between 78-80 degrees and this will keep the moisture out.
3) Set the thermostat on 78 degrees and use ceiling fans to keep cool. Remember though that ceiling fans don’t change the temperature of your home, they only make you feel cooler as the air moves across your skin. So turn ceiling fans off when you aren’t at home to save energy.
4) Make sure the condensing unit on your HVAC unit is clear of any debris (i.e. bushes) and consider shading your outside unit. Studies have shown that shading the outside unit can save as much as 10 percent on the cooling costs.
5) Plant shade trees on the west side of your house.
6) Make sure your attic has enough ventilation and insulation. The attic is a major heat load on your house in the summer and if the heat cannot get out of the attic adequately it will come through your insulation and into your home.
7) Try our Time of Use Rate and cool your house down before the peak time (3p.m.) and turn the thermostat up during the peak time of 3-6 p.m.