JOPLIN — The summer season is heating up, but customers can use these tips to keep cool and control their electric usage as temperatures rise.
• Turn up your thermostat.
Set your air conditioner (AC) thermostat to the highest comfortable setting.
Try a setting of 78-80 degrees and use a fan to circulate cool air. Set the thermostat to 85 degrees if you will be away for more than a few hours (like when you’re at work all day, but not for a 30-minute trip to the store). Install a programmable thermostat to make the process automatic.
• Replace your air conditioner filter once a month.
Dirty filters restrict airflow making your AC work harder and significantly increasing energy use. Use the arrival of your electric statement as your reminder to change your filter.
• Plug the leaks.
Weatherstrip or caulk to reduce air loss around doors and windows, cover your outlets, and seal your ductwork. Leaky ductwork can account for as much as 25 percent of your cooling cost.
Plus, don’t forget about your attic. Double check the R-value of your attic ductwork insulation and make sure you aren’t losing energy. And, of course, keep doors and windows closed when the AC is running.
• Complete heat and/or steam producing activities after 8 p.m. or before 8 a.m. to reduce the load on your AC.
This includes laundry, dishwashing, cooking, showers, or baths. Do only full loads when using your dishwasher and clothes washer, and utilize your microwave or outdoor grill for making meals.
• Dress in cool, natural fabrics.
Loose-fitting, light-colored clothing of natural fibers, such as cotton, are more comfortable during the hot summer months.
• Install compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).