Cooling and heating your home accounts for about 55 percent of your electric bill*, so as the thermometer rises this summer, it’s more important than ever to be mindful about how you’re using your thermostat.
“During hotter months, we encourage you to precool your home overnight and then set the thermostat to at least 78 degrees during the day, especially during Power Rush Hour, from 2–6 p.m.,” PEC Senior Energy Service Advisor Chris Denison said.
Also, keep in mind that fluctuating outdoor temperatures can greatly affect your bill. Even if you keep the same thermostat setting all summer, increases in the daily highs will cause your HVAC system to work harder to make up the widening difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures. If it’s 90 degrees outside, for example, a system set at 78 would be working to make up a 12-degree difference; but at 101, it would be trying to close the gap on a 23-degree difference, almost twice as much.
To minimize this difference and therefore the amount of energy used, Denison recommends raising your thermostat 3–5 degrees, especially when you leave home for long periods of time. Going even higher or turning the system off completely is not recommended. It can cause your HVAC unit to work extremely hard to make up a large temperature difference when you get home, undoing all the savings that were gained. But thermostat settings aren’t the only way to feel several degrees cooler.
“You can also utilize other resources in your home, like turning on the ceiling fan and closing your shades and drapes during the day,” Denison said. “You don’t have to sacrifice comfort to save on your bill.”
More potential savings can be realized by reducing your electric use during Power Rush Hour from 2–6 p.m. each summer. If all of us work together to use less energy at peak times, we can help PEC reduce its overall peak demand. This could help save on our transmission costs next year — savings we pass directly on to you.
*Based on a 3,000-square-foot, all-electric home with a family of four using an average of 2,200 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month.