Stay Cool, Save Money

Summer temperatures are on the rise, but that doesn't mean your electric bill has to go up in lockstep. Get smart about your energy use to keep your AC running and your bill under control.

Temperatures are rising across the Valley as summer sneaks in early.

To keep us all calm, cool and collected, Tennessee Valley Authority has readied its electric grid for the expected strain summer temperatures can put on the transmission system.

And to keep your costs in line, we’ve also got tips to help “beat the heat” of higher utility bills. When considering these tips, remember that summer energy use is usually highest—and rates are at their most costly—between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., during the warmest part of the day and when people arrive home from work.

Top Tips for Saving Energy in the Summer Heat

  • Keep things clean when the sun goes down. Refrain from running your dishwasher, clothes washer or dryer during the heat of the day.
  • Filter it out. Make sure your air conditioner filter is clean—a dirty filter means the air won’t get as cool and the unit uses more power than necessary.
  • Mom was right…shut those doors! Keep the cool air in by minimizing the amount of times you open and shut your main doors leading outside. Do the same with the refrigerator door.
  • Do a fan dance. Use ceiling and floor fans to keep air moving in your home, but only when you're in the room—they use a lot less power than setting your air conditioner lower.
  • Unplug to power down. Unplug any unused or unnecessary electronic devices—even when they're turned off, they still use energy if plugged in.
  • Send your old appliances packing. Have an old additional fridge out in the garage or basement that you’re still using? Consider recyclng that sentimental dinosaur…it’s still inefficient.
  • Lighten up. Make the switch to more energy-efficient light bulbs. They use 75 percent less energy, and—bonus—they put off less heat!
  • A slightly warmer house equals less sizzle on your budget. Setting your thermostat between 75-78 degrees during the day (even higher if no one is home for a few days) can make a significant difference in your power bill. Don't pay to keep your furniture cool.
  • Made in the shade. Create your own shade by keeping curtains closed during the day on the south, west, and east sides of the house to block out sunlight.
  • Be a tree hugger. Shade trees planted on the south or southwest side of your home will keep it cooler.
  • Keep your cool in the kitchen. Plan menus ahead of time for meals that require less range or oven heat. Consider using the microwave instead…it cooks faster and doesn’t create as much heat as stovetop cooking.
  • Or, fire up the grill. Consider using your gas or charcoal grill outside for cooking rather than indoor kitchen appliances.

These free, low-cost measures may not guarantee a lower energy bill, but they can offset the additional energy needed to run your air conditioner throughout the summer.

For more energy-saving tips, visit EnergyRight® Solutions for the Home.