Utility cost savings

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COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri has hit the hottest week this summer so far, which means it may be difficult to keep utility and electric costs down. Utility companies are offering quick tips to save money this summer.

Terry Freeman, the supervisor in residential energy services for Columbia Water and Light, said the recommendation for thermostat settings is 78 degrees. 
 
“For every one degree you raise your thermostat, you save anywhere from 3 to 5 percent off your cooling costs,” Freeman said. "So that’s a big difference."
 
Chris Rohlfing, the manager of member services at Boone Electric Cooperative, said utility costs are directly related to the difference in temperature between the inside and outside of the house. 
 
“The greater the difference in temperature, the more energy it takes to get rid of the heat and humidity in the house,” Rohlfing said. 
 
He said for every degree warmer a house is kept, consumers will save 8 percent of how much it would cost to keep it cooler.
 
Another way to help save utility costs is to change air filters. Freeman said spending a few dollars to change the filter two to four times a year can make a big difference. 
 
"If that gets plugged, then your air conditioner can’t work up to it’s maximum efficiency,” Freeman said. 
 
Rohlfing suggested turning on a fan to increase the comfort level in the room.
 
“It has the effect of making it feel like it’s 4 degrees cooler,” he said. 
 
He also said to use exhaust fans in bathrooms and while cooking to reduce the humidity in the room. Another way to reduce the amount of heat in the room is to close the blinds and curtains to block out solar radiation. 
 
“It will reduce your cooling bill right off the bat,” Freeman said. 
 
Freeman said people should water their yards in the morning so the lawn can soak up the moisture before the sun evaporates it. 
 
"You don’t want to do it in the evening because, if you have excess moisture still remaining on your grass, then it could form some kind of mold or mildew,” Freeman said.
 
Other suggestions include making sure air conditioners have been professionally serviced and working at peak performance. 

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