Beat the heat and save cold hard cash

Published 4:44 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It may not be quite hot enough outside to boil an egg on the sidewalk, but it’s certainly getting hot enough to melt your wallet.

As temperatures have climbed to the mid-90s, monthly electric bills have also been on the rise for many Butler County residents as they have sought relief from the blistering heat.

And while there’s nothing we can do about the weather, Alabama Power Company has offered some simple steps we can take to help lower our energy costs, while staying cool at the same time.

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υ 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.

υ 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.

υ 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.

υ 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.

υ 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.

υ 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.

Taking these few simple steps will help keep you cool, while keeping a little more cold, hard cash in your wallet.