Cayce, SC (June 22, 2010) - Now that summer has arrived, so has the need to keep our living spaces cool. Heating and cooling accounts for 45 to 50 percent of a consumer’s annual energy bill so making small changes can make a big difference when it comes to saving energy. Here's a typical breakdown for your energy usage:
Source: ENERGY STAR
Here are some steps you can take to reduce energy usage in your home:
1) Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher in the summer.
- If you plan to be away for several hours during the day, consider turning your thermostat up several degrees beyond 78.
- If you’re planning to be out of town, set your thermostat a few degrees higher (83-87 degrees should be fine) than normal. Since no one will be home to enjoy the cool air, you may as well save on your next summer bill. We do not recommend turning your unit completely off when you’re away. Since South Carolina summers are so humid and part of your HVAC unit’s job is to remove humidity from your home, you’ll want the unit to run periodically when you’re gone to reduce humidity and prevent mold from accumulating.
2) Keep your interior doors open to promote proper air flow. This can also help your HVAC unit to run more efficiently and achieve a more comfortable temperature within your home.
3) Utilize ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioning. In fact, using them may allow you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher than the recommended 78 degree setting. Ceiling fans do not cool a room, but can circulate air to make you feel cooler—therefore, turn them off when you leave the room.
4) Check your air filters monthly and change them as necessary.
5) Have a professional inspect your cooling system and ensure it’s working properly.
6) Ensure the vents in your home are clean and are not blocked by furniture, rugs or other obstacles. Move furniture away from heating and cooling registers.
7) Visually inspect your duct work for any leaks or tears; repair any leaks you may find with Mastic as soon as possible.
8) Visually inspect your windows and doors. Update the caulking on exterior windows and the weather stripping on exterior doors as needed to help keep cool conditioned air inside.
9) Attic insulation isn’t just important in the winter! Make sure you have adequate attic insulation. We recommend R-38 or higher (12-14 inches). This ensures you’re keeping that cool conditioned air inside your home during those hot summer months.
10) Make sure your water heater is set to 120 degrees (if you have a dishwasher, make sure it doesn’t require a higher setting) and periodically visually inspect your water heater for any leaks, rust or other abnormalities.
- If you’re going to be out of town, consider setting electric water heaters to their lowest setting and/or using the “vacation” mode on your natural gas water heater.
11) Use your outdoor grill or microwave for cooking. This helps keep unwanted heat out of your home.
12) Unplug small appliances and turn off any lights that are not in use. While these items are not huge energy consumers, every little bit helps. Plus, turning off lights that are not in use helps keep additional unwanted heat out of your home.
13) Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs. CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard bulbs. They also produce less heat than their incandescent counterparts, which helps keep unwanted heat out of your home.
14) On warm days, keep blinds and drapes closed.
15) Consider a free (for a limited time) Home Energy Consultation from SCE&G.
16) For more energy saving tips visit our blog at: www.sceg.com/blog
Note: Because heating and cooling costs comprise about 45-50 percent of an average customer’s annual bill, the numbers below should be halved for an accurate estimate. For instance, if you run your thermostat at 75 degrees, you would be adding approximately 16 percent to the cost of your bill.