AUSTIN (KXAN) — With summer heat already breaking records, you’re probably already turning your air conditioner down. If you’re worried about a hefty electric bill this summer, Kendra Acosta with Pedernales Electric Cooperative says that controlling that thermostat, despite the heat, is the place to start.
“You want to set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher during the summer months,” Acosta says, “and fight that urge to lower it if you can.” She says your air conditioner amounts for about half of your energy bill.
Another big tip Acosta says is you should look for ways to help your air conditioner run more efficiently. Switch out air filters, clean vents and look for leaks around your home. “You typically find these around doors, windows, plumbing fixtures, outlets, even switches,” she said.
You should also look for gaps in the flooring and where walls and ceilings meet. Acosta says if you find a leak, you or your landlord can use caulk or weather stripping to repair it.
Cooking can play a huge roll in how hot your home is, too.
“If you have to warm something up, use your microwave,” she said. “Even air fryers and pressure cookers — those are much more efficient than your stove.”
Finally, since the days are longer, Acosta says you should ease up on your indoor lighting. “About 5% of your electric bill actually comes from lighting, so don’t forget to turn them off when you leave the room,” she said. Also, older bulbs generate additional heat. LEDs are not only more efficient but run much cooler.