Published 2:36 am Wednesday, June 21, 2006
High temperatures offer opportunities to save money
Feeling a little warm? With temperatures well into the 90s - and the heat so bad that two people fainted at the Blueberry Festival last weekend - we're all looking for ways to cool off.
For some people, though, the worst thing about the heat isn't the sweating or the sunburns - it's the high bills we get when we run the air conditioning to try to beat the heat.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management has some tips that could help all of us calm down when we receive our electric bills over the summer.
Among ADEM's recommendations:
Close shades or curtains to block the sun especially on windows facing west.
Keep cool air in by installing insulation and caulk or weather strip windows and doors.
Turn off lights when not in use and switch from incandescent lights to cooler compact fluorescent bulbs.
Grill out to keep cooking heat outside.
Use a microwave instead of an oven when possible. Microwaves use less than half the power of a conventional oven and cook food in about one-fourth the time. Ovens heat up the kitchen making cooling systems and refrigerators work harder.
Run clothes washers and dishwashers during mornings and nights whenever possible to avoid peak electric use hours and wash only full loads. Hang laundry outside to dry. Use the air-dry feature on dishwashers.
Change air conditioner filters regularly.
Adjust thermostats. In extreme temperatures, a one-degree change in the thermostat setting for central air conditioners can produce a 5 percent cost savings. Use ceiling fans to circulate air.