LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The heat has been at the top of a lot of Arkansan's minds and, naturally, when it's hot outside, we all tend to turn down the A/C in order to keep the house cool.
If you have been looking for a way to shave some money off your electric bill this summer, there are some things that you should consider.
Although summer has not officially begun just yet, the signs of summer have already been in the air. Arkansans have felt the summer heat for quite a while now, which is ahead of schedule from past years.
"It's an inconvenience. I think that every year, it seems to get earlier and earlier," Caroline Calvert said.
People have tried to find creative ways to stay cool while dealing with the summer heat.
"We are riding scooters and jumping in the river," one woman told us.
"Sit on the couch and turn the air conditioner way down and expect utilities to go way up," John Collins described.
Kacee Kirschvink with Entergy Arkansas said there are different ways to avoid those higher electric bills.
"Every degree that you have it colder is going to make your unit run harder and make your electric [bill] go higher," Kirschvink said.
68 degrees may sound like it would be the ideal temperature, but Kirschvink recommends that you set the thermostat to around 78 degrees instead.
"Air conditioners account for 55% of your average electric bill," Kirschvink said.
According to Entergy Arkansas, there are a few things you should consider:
- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or the highest comfortable temperature. Every degree lower than 78 can raise your bill as much as 3%. If you crank down the A/C to a cooler 72 degrees, you’ve already increased your bill by 18%.
- Buy a programmable thermostat. As energy use rises, costs can also rise. A programmable thermostat can help you manage those costs when you are away, whether for the day or on an extended vacation.
- Use fans to cool off, but remember – fans cool people, not rooms. Ceiling fans, box fans and oscillating fans all use very little electricity to circulate the air, which helps you feel several degrees cooler. Make sure ceiling fans are rotating in the right direction – counter-clockwise during summer – to push cooler air down into the room. To save more energy, be sure to turn all fans off when you leave the room.
- Seal cracks and holes around doors, windows and duct work. Weather stripping and caulk will help keep the cold air in and the hot air out.
- Close blinds, shades and curtains to keep the sun out and the cool air in. Also, close air conditioning vents in rooms that are not in use.
If you keep these small tips in mind you should most likely see a big difference in your utility bill.