Troy Utilities offers ways to save energy during hot summer months

Published 3:00 am Friday, July 7, 2017

With temperatures reaching up into the 90s this month, Troy Utilities officials are sharing tips with residents on how to beat the heat – at least on the electric bill.

Brian Chandler said there are 10 easy tips that most people can do themselves to lower cooling costs.

“One thing is the use of ceiling fans, floor fans or box fans,” said Brian Chandler, manager of Troy Utilities. “Fans help circulate air and make rooms feel cooler, whether you’re in the bedroom, den, kitchen or even on the porch.”

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Chandler also suggested keeping a close watch on air filters and the areas surrounding them.

“Filters tend to get dirty fairly quickly,” Chandler said.  “If clogged up, they don’t let proper air flow through and your cooling unit is not going to work properly.”

Likewise, clutter around your indoor or outdoor air conditioning unit could cause the unit to operate less effectively, Chandler said.

Another issue Chandler said residents face is cold air seeping out of houses or the sun heating the home through windows.

“You want to check for air leaks around windows and doors,” Chandler said. “Look for cracks where you see light or feel for air currents with your hand. It may seem like a small thing, but if it continues for a long period of time you’re going to have hot air coming through helping to create a draft.

“You also want to use blinds and shades to block sunlight from coming in the windows. If you walked in front of a window in your house this week, you know they let in a lot of heat. If the sun is shining directly in them, shades and blinds help keep some of the heat out. Leave them closed during the day.”

One of the old pieces of advice to save energy is to not touch the thermostat, but Chandler said that means not to turn it down or up constantly. Residents can save some extra money though by turning it up slightly at the right times of day though.

“Turn thermostats up during the day a little bit warmer when no one is there,” Chandler said. ”If someone is home, you can turn it up and use fans. You can get it up to 78 degrees without feeling too hot in the house when temperatures are like they have been lately.”

Chandler warned though not to turn the thermostat up too high – to temperatures such as 85 or 90 – as it will make the unit work harder when you return and set it back to a temperature in the 70s.

“And the next level of that, turning the air conditioner off, is a horrible mistake,” Chandler said. “The temperature in the home is going to be even higher. And the other thing your unit does besides cooling the air is it removes humidity as it cools, so if you’re gone for extended time, moisture builds up in your home. That muggy humidity can help cause mold and mildew in your home because humidity got high and stayed high. So it might save you money, but it’s going to cause you some bigger problems, potentially even health problems.”

Other tips that Chandler had for residents including grilling outdoors to keep ovens from heating up the house, washing clothes in cold water, checking the attic for leaks and insulation issues and turning down the water heater and wrapping it with an insulation blanket.

“Most of those ideas are something customers can do and check themselves without spending a whole lot of money,” Chandler said. ”It may take a little time and a little work, but it’s something most people can do themselves.”