Don't let high temperatures keep you down - U of I Extension

News Release

Don't let high temperatures keep you down

This article was originally published on July 2, 2018 and expired on July 16, 2018. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.

April was a weird weather month.  We went from snow and freezing weather to summer-like temperatures all within about a week.  It is hard to try and figure out how to keep your electric bills low when temperatures are getting so high so early.  There are a few ways to help keep your home comfortable without making you sweat over your bank account balance.

A few changes can be made in your home to help reduce your electric bill:

1.      Turn the Air Conditioner up.  The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that most homes could save up to 10% on their cooling costs just by turning the AC up.  You will need to figure out what you are comfortable with, but does the AC need to be set at 72?  Changing the thermostat will save you an average of 1% per degree.  Unless you have a medical reason for needing the AC set very low.  Seventy-five or 76 degrees tends to be a very comfortable temperature after a brief adjustment period. 

2.      Use your fans.  Using fans in occupied rooms is a very energy efficient way of cooling off without cranking the AC.  Be sure and turn off the fan when you leave the room. Fans move air in the room to help increase the effectiveness of your “personal cooling system.”  Whole house fans are very effective when the nights are cool, pulling cool air into the home.  Be sure to have windows open to make the most of your whole house fan.

3.      Close the curtains.  Using curtains, especially blackout or energy conservation curtains, reduces the heat that is entering your home.  Reducing the amount of sunlight that comes into your home can have a significant effect on the temperature in your home.  Just like when you sit in the shade, it is cooler reducing the sunlight into the home and helps keep your home cool as well.

4.      Service your AC.  Making sure that your AC is functioning properly can save you a significant amount of money.  It not only expends the life of your AC system but also makes sure that it is not working harder than needed to cool your home.  Changing air filters, cleaning your outdoor compressor and hiring a professional to inspect your system each spring will help to extend the life of your cooling system.

5.      Upgrade your AC.  If you have a very old Air Conditioner, no matter how well you maintain it, you will see an increase in efficiency by upgrading to a new system.  Depending on the SEER rating of your unit and the new unit you could be saving between an estimated 33% and 58% on cooling costs each year.  With an average cost for a 1700 square foot home of between $2000 to $7000, it puts your pay off period between five and seven years.  Ameren Illinois has a fantastic incentive to upgrading your AC if it is still working.  If your AC system is still working they have a $650 “Early Retirement” incentive and a $400 “Standard Replacement” for a nonworking unit.  This reduces the pay off period to between three and five years.  Check the Ameren Illinois Act On Energy website for more information and to find a Program Ally that will be able to provide the incentives.

For more information about energy efficiency or natural resouces please contact Jason Haupt (jdhaupt@illinois.edu).

Source: Jason Haupt, Extension Educator, Energy and Environmental Stewardship, jdhaupt@illinois.edu

Pull date: July 16, 2018