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Here are some ways to lower your electric bill during a hot summer

Michael Swan/flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode

With the cost of energy going up amid hot weather, there are some tips for saving money on electric bills.

The Illinois Commerce Commission is offering recommendations:

  • Schedule a regular AC maintenance visit, and replace filters regularly.
  • Do not place lamps, TVs, or other appliances that emit heat near air-conditioning thermostats.
  • Raise the thermostat and use ceiling and box fans to keep cool. Turn off fans when you leave the room. 
  • Close curtains and other window treatments to block heat during the day.
  • Buy a programmable thermostat to set the thermostat higher at night or while you are away from the home on your mobile device. Check with your utility about smart thermostat models that can sense your absence from the home, automatically adjusting the temperature to save money.
  • Consider investing in LED lighting which emits very little heat, uses at least 75% less energy, and lasts up to 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.
  • Load the dishwasher fully before washing and run at night.
  • Use small electric pans, toaster ovens, or convection ovens for small meals rather than heating a large stove or oven. Cook outdoors.
  • Set the water heater at no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Dust and vacuum condenser coils along the base or back of your refrigerator to improve efficiency. 
  • Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks around doors and windows. Call your utility to check to see if they offer energy assessment programs to test your home for cracks and air leaks and offer weatherization suggestions.
  • Use cold water to wash clothes, and run the washing machine early in the morning. Using a clothesline to dry clothes once a week instead of using the dryer can save around $79 a year. Clean the lint filter in your dryer after each use and keep your dryer vent hose clean.
  • Unplug appliances, electronics, and game consoles not in use.
  • If you need to upgrade a major appliance buy an energy-efficient model. Call your utility provider to inquire about energy efficiency rebate programs that might be available.
  • Make sure air vents are open and free from obstructions.

Some utilities offer programs to help reduce usage during peak hours or alternative rate options that might fit your lifestyle and save you money. You can visit the ICC website for contact information by utility as well as bill payment assistance information: www.icc.illinois.gov.

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