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Beat the heat: How to keep cool while reducing energy costs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 8, 2020
With Michigan in the grips of an extended heat wave and temperatures at or above 90 degrees, the Michigan Public Service Commission is offering tips to help you stay cool and reduce energy bills.
“There are many low- and no-cost ways to manage the heat while also reducing energy waste,” said MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg. “Reducing electricity use during extreme heat also helps maintain reliability and keep costs down for all utility customers because the most expensive electricity generation options are put into service during peak demand periods like this.”
Here are tips from the MPSC and the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Close shades and curtains to keep out heat from the sun.
- Avoid activities that add heat or humidity to the home during the hottest times of the day, such as cooking or running a dishwasher. When you cook, use an exhaust fan to blow hot air out of the kitchen. Consider grilling outside instead of using the stove or oven. If you run the dishwasher, consider letting dishes air dry instead of using the dishwasher’s heater.
- Use ceiling fans, which allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees without impacting your comfort.
- Install and set a programmable thermostat — it could help you save up to 10 percent on heating and cooling costs a year.
- Insulate your attic and walls, and seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home.
- Insulate and seal ducts — air loss through ducts accounts for about 30 percent of a cooling system's energy consumption.
- Use the bathroom fan when taking a shower or bath and a range hood when cooking — this helps remove heat and humidity from your home.
Use AC wisely
- If you use air-conditioning, set your thermostat to 78 degrees, a setting widely considered comfortable. Check with your utility about smart thermostat offers with low to no cost, or signing up for voluntary utility programs that cycle air conditioning for a rate discount.
- If you leave your home for more than five hours, raise the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees, or use a programmable thermostat.
- When possible, install a window air-conditioner, or the compressor unit of a central air-conditioner, on a side of a home or building that is shaded. Direct sunlight falling on an air-conditioning unit increases its workload.
- Keep the compressor unit of a central air conditioner free from leaves and other debris that can clog vents.
- Make sure your cooling system is well tuned with periodic professional maintenance, and clean or replace air filters once a month or as needed.
- Shut vents or close off unoccupied rooms, which can save 5 to 10 percent on your cooling costs.
- When the temperature is moderate, turn off the air conditioner, open windows, and use fans.
- Buy an ENERGY STAR-qualified air conditioning unit — on average, they're up to 15 percent more efficient than standard models.
Check out the MPSC’s Be Summerwise webpage to find more tips and resources to help you beat the heat.
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