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Consumer Reports: How to cut some heat out of your electric bill

Posted at 7:34 AM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 08:34:28-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF/CONSUMER REPORTS) — With the summer heat here, it's hard not to keep your air conditioning running.

An easy way to save some money on energy costs is to turn off your air conditioning, but when it's in the upper 90s outside, who wants to do that? There are other ways to cut your utility costs without sacrificing your comfort in your home.

As we head into the hottest months of the year, it’s little comfort to learn that 13% of a home’s energy costs are for cooling. To take some heat off your electric bill, adjust your thermostat settings — it’s one of the simplest and most significant things you can do to keep your energy bills under control.

"A programmable or smart thermostat can actually lower cooling and heating bills by as much as 10% a year. Most smart thermostats use Wi-Fi and allow you to control your central air and heat with your smartphone," said Dan Wroclawski with Consumer Reports.

Some even learn your routine like when you’re home and when you’re away, along with your temperature preferences to customize your cooling and heating schedule.

Consumer Reports recommends the Honeywell Home T9 Thermostat. It includes a sensor to measure temperature and humidity.

Some simple changes around your home can also help lower your bill, like keeping your blinds and shades closed during the day to keep the sun from heating up the house.

Ceiling fans have been popular for generations and for good reason. They can actually help to save money.

"Ceiling fans not only cost very little to run, but when used with your air conditioning, you can actually raise your thermostat by about 4 degrees and feel just as cool," Wroclawski said.

If you’re buying one, fans with the Energy Star label are 60% more efficient than conventional fan/light units.

Take time to plug cracks around windows and doors and repair any leaky AC ductwork to make sure your cool air isn’t leaking out.

Also, try not to use your oven. Along with using energy, it also heats up the kitchen. If you really need to bake, try to use a Consumer Reports top-rated toaster oven or air fryer. They’re an affordable, money-saving option and heat up more quickly.

Even better, get outside and grill.

If you decide to add a smart or programmable thermostat to your house, check with your utility company first because some offer incentives and some even offer a free thermostat.