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Hot weather doesn't have to mean high power bills

Posted July 8, 2010

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— Soaring temperatures threaten to send power bills rising, but following five simple tricks can keep electricity costs down.

Power usage last month jumped in what was the hottest June on record at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Twenty-two days saw temperatures over 90 degrees, seven days set new record highs, and the average temperature was 81.5 degrees.

A Duke Energy spokesman said usage was up between 12 to 19 percent from last June, and Progress Energy spokesman said that customers used 11.25 percent more energy than expected.

Air conditioning is largely responsible for such increases, so turning up the thermostat is one of the first steps to save money. Energy program cuts costs More tips to save money in hot weather

"We recommend 78 degrees," Progress Energy spokesman Mike Hughes said. "For every degree lower than that that you set the thermostat, it's going to cost you 5 to 7 percent more on your electric bill at the end of the month."

Using a ceiling fan is another way to cool the house.

Five easy ways to lower your utility bill Five easy ways to lower your utility bill

"Ceiling fans help when there are people in the room. They can reduce the feel of the room by 3 to 5 degrees," Hughes said.

Make sure the air conditioner is running efficiently. Check and change the air filters regularly.

"A clogged filter can rob your system of efficiency and cost you 20 percent more every month," Hughes said.

Pull the drapes to keep out the sun's heat. Be sure to close the window coverings on the sunniest side of the house during the hottest part of the day.

Energy savings can also be found in the kitchen. Try to avoid using the oven, and instead, cook with the microwave or other countertop appliances.

"That saves a lot of energy and also doesn't produce the residual heat the conventional oven does," Hughes said.

Progress Energy also offers a free online home energy report that gives people customized tips to save power.

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  • Tired of thoughtlessness Jul 14, 2010

    So what if you have a new baby and over 75 degrees is unsafe due to the risk of SID?

  • edith wharton Jul 9, 2010

    We keep our thermostats on 78 during the day, but the upstairs one is set to 76 overnight. Seventy-eight downstairs can actually feel a bit chilly, while 78 upstairs is sometimes a bit warm in the afternoon. We really need a better thermostat upstairs, which would keep the temperature fluctuations to a minimum. A good programmable Honeywell thermostat works wonders and they are easily installed.

  • Supie Jul 8, 2010

    my neighbor put in an attic fan (vents hot air trapped in attic to outside and pulls in outside air through spaces in attic under eaves) and says its saved him 50% on cooling bills. I'm getting quotes now for a solar powered attic fan. (electric back up to close in rain and when not in use).

  • Dr.Moufunchitz Jul 8, 2010

    grilling outside can also save on electricity bills and help promote a good diet.

  • Remy Jul 8, 2010

    " lets rely on heavily processed foods for dinner instead of cooking our own meals, " Steph

    There are plenty of fresh food alternatives that can be cooked in the micro. Steam fresh veggies, marinate and steam small chicken breasts, etc, etc, etc.

  • scotlandlover Jul 8, 2010

    I have mine between 76-78 depending on how hot it is.Boy,I wish I could set it on 72 but my bill would be crazy.
    I am a stay at home mom so I cook in the mornings before lunch when it's really hot,like yesterday.The house doesn't heat up as much.We also plan to use the grill more for the next two months.Every little bit helps save money for the fun things,not paying the electric company.

  • signothefish Jul 8, 2010

    I prefer a balmy 68 degrees. Yeah, that's about right. Plus, it helps my productivity. What I lose in cooling costs, I gain in getting things done around the house.

  • scarletindurham Jul 8, 2010

    "Energy savings can also be found in the kitchen. Try to avoid using the oven, and instead, cook with the microwave"

    Well, okay, in order to save $10 this month, lets rely on heavily processed foods for dinner instead of cooking our own meals, and end up spending tens of thousands of dollars down the line in health care expenses. Smart.

  • dhilliard2 Jul 8, 2010

    78 degrees - no way ....72 is more to my liking... with the ceiling fans blowing it feels even cooler....and I will gladly pay the light bill.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jul 8, 2010

    Got fear, nccarguy? How about reality?...or at least a news station besides Rush Limbaughtomy or Faux News. ;-)

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