Ways to keep utility bill low during hot summer months

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During the summer heat, it’s easy to amp up the power bill trying to stay cool.

Tennessee Valley Authority officials said people can make a difference with their own power bill by being energy efficient, especially during the hottest times of the day.

According to TVA, summer energy use is the highest and most expensive between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

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During that time it’s not only the hottest, but it’s also when people are home from work.

TVA has several tips to help keep the power bill low:

  • Refrain from running the dishwasher, clothes washer or dryer during the heat of the day. Try to wait until the sun goes down.
  • Make sure the air conditioner filter is clean—a dirty filter means the air won’t get as cool and the unit uses more power than necessary.
  • Keep the cool air in by minimizing the amount of times someone opens and shuts the main doors leading outside. Do the same with the refrigerator door.
  • Use ceiling and floor fans to keep air moving in the home, but only when someone is in the room—they use a lot less power than setting your air conditioner lower.
  • Unplug any unused or unnecessary electronic devices—even when they’re turned off, they still use energy if plugged in.
  • Swap out older appliances with new, more energy-efficient appliances. Older appliances typically use more energy.
  • Make the switch to more energy-efficient light bulbs. They use 75 percent less energy, and they put off less heat.
  • Set the thermostat between 75-78 degrees during the day (even higher if no one is home for a few days) to make a significant difference in the power bill.
  • Shade the home by keeping curtains closed during the day on the south, west, and east sides of the house to block out sunlight.
  • Shade trees planted on the south or southwest side of the home will keep it cooler.
  • Plan menus ahead of time for meals that require less range or oven heat. Consider using the microwave instead…it cooks faster and doesn’t create as much heat as stovetop cooking.
  • Consider using a gas or charcoal grill outside for cooking rather than indoor kitchen appliances.

Scott Brooks, spokesperson for TVA, said that simply keeping the A/C between 75 and 78 degrees can make a big difference in the power bill.

“For every degree below 75, you’re actually increasing your energy bill by about 3 percent per degree,” Brooks said.

He also said that if people follow the energy saving tips, they might notice an even smaller power bill in August.

Part of the monthly power bill varies every month: the total monthly fuel cost.

The fuel cost is the cost of the fuel it takes to generate power.

Brooks said the fuel costs usually rise during the summer or winter months when more power is used.

Sometimes, TVA has extra hydro-energy, which is the cheapest source of power.

Tennessee has had a lot of rain in 2019.

“That does translate into lower fuel costs, because we use as much of that water that falls into the river as we can to generate power through our hydro dam,” Brooks said.

MORE ONLINE | To check if you’re home is energy-efficient, you can visit www.2escore.com for a home energy audit.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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