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How to Stay Cool and Keep Energy Bills Low

There are many things you can do to stay cool without running up your electricity bill.

Photo of hot sunset.When warm weather is in the forecast, there are many things you can do to stay cool without running up your electricity bill.

One of the best ways to keep your house cool is not to let the outside heat inside. Keeping the windows closed during the day and covered by blinds or drapes can significantly reduce the amount of heat gained through a window. Better yet, install an exterior shade. Also, good insulation not only keeps your house warm in the winter, it helps keep you cool in the summer. Other money-saving tips include:

1. Give appliances a break. Limit the use of ranges and stoves, dishwashers, dryers, washing machines and other heat-producing equipment especially during mid-day.

2. Prepare cool meals, such as salads and sandwiches. If you must cook a hot meal, wait until later in the evening when it’s cooler.

3. Use a ceiling fan, A typical fan consumes 98 percent less electricity than most central air conditioners use.

4. Adjust ceiling fans to turn counter-clockwise, which will push down warm air trapped near the ceiling.

5. If you have central air conditioning: Cool only the rooms you use. But don’t close all vents. Closing too many actually reduces operating efficiency.

6. Turn off the air conditioner when you leave the house for several hours.

7. An air conditioner thermostat is not a throttle, so don’t switch your air conditioner to a colder setting when you turn it on. It won’t cool the room any faster but it will waste energy when you forget to turn it up again. Keep it set at 80 degrees.

8. Install a timer on your room air conditioner, or use a programmable thermostat on your central air conditioner.

9. Keep your air conditioner shaded to improve its efficiency.

10. Set your furnace thermostat as high as possible. The minimum recommended energy-efficient summer temperature is 78 degrees.

High temperatures can add strain on our electrical equipment. Should the power go out, first check your main switch for a blown fuse or an open breaker. If that is not the problem, call City Light’s Outage Hotline at (206) 684-7400 for a recording of all known outages. If your area is not mentioned, please let us know by calling (206) 684-3000.