4-County offers energy saving tips

Staff Writer

As the summer heat bears down with temperatures in the 90’s each day, it is no surprise that electric bills have gone up in an attempt to stay cool with air conditioning.

According to 4-County Electric Power Association, more than 50 percent of energy used in a home comes from heating and cooling.

“There’s twice a year that we get high bills and that’s during the extreme temperatures,”

4-County Manager of Public Relations and Marketing Jon Turner said. “We expect them in the summertime, but we also get them in the wintertime as well.”

Turner said anything that adds to ambient heat in a house will increase energy usage during the hot months, such as leaving lights on, cooking during the hottest part of the day and opening exterior doors often.

“Even if you have the most efficient air conditioner or HVAC unit out there, they’re only made to run within certain temperature ranges,” Turner said. “So when it get so be extraordinarily hot temperatures and stays that way, even if your air conditioner is brand new and very expensive, it's not going to go off that often and continue to run.”

Turner recommended turning off lights, only cooking during cooler parts of the day, keeping doors shut as often as possible, keeping the lint trap cleaned out on the dryer, using ceiling fans and sealing cracks in door and window frames with weather stripping to help keep the temperature down inside homes to use less energy.

“Anything you can do to make sure you’re not wasting energy,” Turner said. “Just think about what you’re doing, and there’s plenty of simple things you can do, like changing your air filter on your heating and cooling system. If that filter is dirty your system has to work harder.”

Turner said more energy tends to be used when children are out of school for holidays because people are at home all day and more cooking and laundry is done.

The average customer spends 20 percent of its energy bill on appliances, according to 4-County Turner said customers average around $5 each day in energy usage, but that amount quickly adds up each month.

Learning how homeowners use their power each day and making one or two small changes in behavior can lower power bills, not just during the summer, but year-round, Turner said. 4-County members can set up a free account online and view their energy usage and receive alerts when certain amounts of energy are used.

“Out of all the things people can do, that’s probably the most important — just learning how they use their power and what it really cost them each day,” Turner said.