Tips help control utility bills during summer months

Published 11:00 pm Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday marked the official first day of summer, and high temperatures already have arrived in Pike County.

As we move from a cool spring to what is likely to be a blistering, humid summer, residents throughout the county will be faced with higher utility bills as they seek relief from the heat.

And as a reminder, Alabama Power Company offers a few tips and reminders to help customers of any utility service control their costs during these heavy-usage months:

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• Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher and use fans to maintain air circulation in your home. The “wind chill” effect allows the thermostat to be set slightly higher while retaining the same level of comfort in a room. Turning up your thermostat on a hot day by 2 degrees can reduce air-conditioning energy use up to 10 percent, while the cost of running a ceiling fan is minimal.

• Consider using the microwave, toaster oven or grill instead of the oven. Small appliances use about one-third the power of an oven broiler and create less heat in your kitchen.

• Save household chores like mopping and washing dishes for the coolest part of the day. These tasks add moisture and heat to your home in the summer.

• Keep exterior doors closed as much as possible. Hot air enters your home each time the door is opened. Keep in-and-out traffic from overworking your cooling system.

• Repel excess heat by using light-colored blinds, shades and draperies on the sunny side of the house. Make sure draperies are insulated or lined, and use light colors to reduce the amount of heat they absorb.

• Remove heat and moisture from a bathroom by turning on the exhaust fan or opening a window while the door is closed. This spares the air conditioner extra work after a hot shower.

So be energy smart and stay cool in the coming weeks.