Saving on cooling costs when the temps heat up

After the temperatures this week, it’s going to be pretty painful to open the electric bill.

So before it even gets to that, there are steps you can take right now to cut down on energy usage.

Even if you don’t have three kids that you have to constantly remind to close the door, like Natalie Ruggiero in Greenville does, it’s hard to find a balance.

That balance between comfort, and the uncomfortable feeling of getting a really high energy bill.

“If it were even in here, I would not open it in front of you because I might scream,” she says.

Ruggiero is doing a lot of things right, she’s replaced some windows, runs her fans counter clockwise to push cold air down, and has sealed up cracks around her door.

“You could see daylight just coming through little cracks in the wood,” says Ruggiero.

But her thermostat settings are a different story.

“The kids they go to bed and I feel like they’re sweating because you can’t cool the house down soon enough, but then they wake up and freezing and they want hot chocolate in the morning,” she says.

David Hammond, with Laurens Electric Cooperative, is challenging Ruggiero to ween her family off 67 degree nights, and set her upstairs and downstairs two degrees apart.

“Like if you’re looking for a 72 degree temperature in the home, you’ll want to put downstairs 71, Upstairs 73,” he says.

Every degree you drop your thermostat, you reduce your usage by three percent.

Also, don’t get blinded by winter habits.

“Your blinds are all open, and everything, lots of light. But we could create another barrier here by closing all of your blinds,” Hammond says.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is closing off rooms. You might think it saves on energy, but it actually makes your HVAC system less efficient.

And while you’re sealing windows and doors, don’t forget small leaks through sockets and the fireplace flu, because we’ve all been there.

“When the hot months are over, you’re like, we’ll worry about that next year, and that never happens,” Ruggiero says.

But while we’re here, A few quick changes, can make opening that bill next month a lot less painful.

The experts say if you’re not home during the day set your thermostat for two degrees higher.

If you’re going on vacation, set it for five degrees higher.

Here is a link to how you can audit your own home for energy savings.

Home Energy House Call is a free in-home energy assessment designed to show you how your home uses energy, and how you can save on your monthly bill. https://www.duke-energy.com/home/products/home-energy-house-call

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