Most people expect higher energy costs in the summer. We crank up the air conditioning; the kids are home from school playing video games and creating extra loads of laundry full of bathing suits, beach towels, and muddy clothes. Warm weather comes with a price but, with a little preparation, you can manage your energy use wisely and cut down on your bill. This month we asked McLeod Co-op Power’s Energy Management Specialist, Justin Kohls, to share his best tips for saving energy this summer.

Check Your Air Conditioning

Your air conditioner requires regular maintenance to function efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures poor performance and unnecessarily high energy use. Checking the coils, fins, evaporative cooler, and heat pump may require the services of a professional.

Replace Your Air Filter

Replacing your air filter is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to make sure that your A/C runs smoothly and efficiently. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce your air conditioner’s ability to absorb heat.

Use Your Thermostat Wisely

Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer, ideally 78°F or higher. Every degree of extra cooling will increase energy usage six to eight percent. Keep your house warmer than normal when your family is away, and lower the temperature only when people are at home.

Avoid the Oven

Cooking with a conventional oven can add unwanted heat to your house, forcing your A/C to work harder. Do more of your cooking with a microwave or slow cooker to keep the kitchen cool. Better yet, use the summer heat as an excuse to fire up the backyard grill.

If You Aren’t Using It, Unplug It

From your computer to your toaster, all electronics generate heat. Even if it’s switched off, just being plugged in generates a small amount of heat in the wiring. Too keep things cool, unplug any electronics you’re not using. It’s not much per device, but add up all the gizmos in your home, and it can make a few degrees difference.

Seal Your Home

Insulation isn’t just for the cold winter months. Preventing air leaks is one of the best ways to keep warm air out and cool air in. Simple caulking and weather-stripping can save up to 30 percent on heating and cooling costs.

Wash with Cold or Warm Water

Avoid using hot water whenever possible. Because 90% of the energy used by your washing machine goes toward heating the water, doing your laundry on either the cold or the warm cycle will save you a tremendous amount of electricity.

“Energy savings isn’t just a summertime activity. Many of these tips will save you money all year long. Air stripping, insulated curtains, and intelligent thermostat usage will keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Creating smart energy habits will reduce waste, improve efficiency, and save you money on your energy bill year round,” Justin shared. “In addition to these simple adjustments, McLeod Co-op Power offers a variety of energy saving programs to help you manage your energy use and help keep electric costs low.”

Visit our website or call us at (800) 494-6272 to talk to one of our energy management specialists to learn about programs and rebates available through McLeod Co-op for energy efficiency improvements.