Heat Brings Spike in Air Conditioning Use

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COLUMBIA - The first day of summer means a spike in electricity demand. Columbia's Water and Light Department's Utility Services Specialist Connie Kacprowicz says residents turned on their air conditioning units earlier than normal this year.

"We usually see our biggest peak in July and August when it doesn't cool down hardly at all at night," she said.

This year's peak means your next utility bill is likely to be higher, maybe much higher, than last June.

Kacprowicz says it's possible to stay cool and save money.

The Water and Light Department offers these summer energy efficiency tips.
· Leave window shades that receive direct sunlight down during the day.
· Try to use the oven, dishwasher and other appliances that produce heat during the late evening and early morning.
· Set the thermostat no lower than 78 degrees and turn it up a few degrees when the house is unoccupied.
· Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes.
· Keep fireplace chimney dampers closed.

Air Conditioning Maintenance

Phil Figueiredo is the general manager of Chapman Heating and Air Conditioning. His company sees more broken air conditioning units during the summer months.

Figueiredo says homeowners can begin the repair process themselves. He says check the unit's filter and replace if it's dirty.

"If your system isn't cooling very well, you want a clean, new filter in there."

But if the blower is not running or if it's blowing hot air, call repair services.

"Similar to your car, you were taught to change the oil every 3,000 miles. Your air conditioning and heating and cooling is the same. You should have periodic maintenance done regardless of what it looks like," he said.

More Information

Learn about receiving a rebate from the City when buying a new A/C unit: http://columbiapowerpartners.com/

Air conditioning efficiency tips: http://columbiapowerpartners.com/efficiency-tips/home-energy-efficiency#AC