Tips to beat the heat and your electric bill this summer

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- The heat might have you running for the indoors, but keeping the inside cool could bring about a hefty electric bill. There are tips to help beat that heat and your bill.

There's no doubt about it: it's summer in Alabama. Ninety-degree mornings, humidity, the whole nine yards. That heat could skyrocket your electric bill, but there are ways to help keep it manageable. "We try to encourage people to pick a cooler hour of the day to do heat-producing activities such as baking, laundry," explained Guntersville Electric Board General Manager Jason Kirkland.

That's just one way.

Keep your blinds down and curtains closed to help keep the cool air in. Clean your air vents so your unit doesn't have to work harder. "If you can stay around a 72 to 74-degree temperature, that's going to really help a lot of people out," Kirkland added.

When you leave, bump it up a couple of degrees. When you want to put it back to your normal temperature, slowly bring the temperature down by two-degree increments, or your unit will have to work harder.  Use a ceiling fan set to run counter-clockwise and make sure all of your air vents are open and your interior doors are open.

Here's the full list of tips from the Guntersville Electric Board. The Tennessee Valley Authority has some tips, too.

  • Crank it up—Setting your thermostat just one degree higher can save up to 3 percent on your power bill. A setting of around 75 degrees is the “sweet spot” to maximize your savings.
  • Don’t “yo-yo” your thermostat—Keep your thermostat changes to 2 or 3-degree adjustments no more than once every four hours. Constantly turning your thermostat way up during the day and then way down when you get home forces your unit to work harder than needed, costing you more money.
  • It’s curtains for you—Or maybe blinds, but try to cover your windows on the south and west sides of your home to block sunlight during the warmest parts of the day.
  • Get out of the kitchen—Summer is the perfect time for grilling outside, which keeps the heat from cooking the inside of your home.
  • Or use that microwave—It will cook your food faster, and keep the kitchen cooler than stovetop or oven cooking would.
  • Keep things clean—Keeping your air filters clean will allow your air conditioner to work most efficiently. Change them regularly, too. Clogged filters will make your AC system work harder.
  • Seal it up—Caulk around windows and doors to seal the cool air in and keep the heat out. Likewise, replace cracked seals around refrigerators or freezers.
  • Take a cold shower—Not only will it feel good this time of year, it will save on unnecessary water heating costs.
  • Plant a tree or two—Shade trees on the south or southwest side of the house will add beauty and keep your house cooler.

These low-cost or no-cost, easy-to-do actions can help make an immediate difference in your power use without forcing you to break even more of a summer sweat. Find more summer energy-saving tips at EnergyRight Solutions®.

TVA and local power companies are also doing their part to make sure reliable power will be there for you when you need it most. Crews are getting all available generating units ready for peak operation and delaying less critical maintenance activities. It’s all a part of continuing their 85-year mission of service to the Tennessee Valley to deliver the power you need when you need it most—and always at the lowest feasible cost.