Summer energy-savings tips from SWEPCO

SHREVEPORT, La., June 5, 2008 -- “Hot and muggy weather is upon us, as temperatures in the 90s and high humidity make you wonder how to stay cool and save energy at the same time,” says Scott McCloud, SWEPCO spokesman.      

“By following these energy tips, SWEPCO customers can save money on their summer bills by reducing electric usage in the home,” adds McCloud.

• Install a clean air conditioning filter on a regular basis in the summer and replace or clean it monthly. Dirty filters cause the equipment to work harder and use up to five percent more energy.
• For economy, set the air conditioner thermostat at 78 degrees. Each degree below 78 adds about eight percent to your cooling costs.
• Use portable and ceiling fans whenever possible to help circulate air and help reduce the amount of air conditioning required. They only cost a dollar or two a month to operate because they are smaller wattage appliances.
• Set your thermostat at a higher temperature while you’re away from home. This way the air conditioner won’t be on as often while you’re out.
• Perform heavy housework chores in the cooler time of the day. This includes washing dishes, baking and laundry work. These create heat and moisture that put an extra strain on the air conditioner. Vent clothes dryers to the outside and use kitchen exhaust fans to get rid of excess heat.
• Keep direct sunlight out as much as possible. Close curtains, shades and blinds to hold down the temperature inside the home. Consider light-colored roofs, outside walls, drapes and solar screens that reflect the heat.
• Weatherstrip doors and windows to prevent expensive air leaks. Make sure all windows and doors are closed when the air conditioning unit is operating.
• The attic should be properly ventilated to prevent excess heat build-up, which causes your cooling system to work harder.
• Insulation is very important and can pay for itself by lowering your cooling costs by as much as 20 percent. Use insulation with a high “R” value. Insulation recommendations will vary depending on your location in the company’s service area. A 12.0 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is preferred for air conditioning units and heat pumps.
• Air conditioning and heat pump equipment should be inspected and serviced each year by a licensed contractor to operate at maximum efficiency.
• If you have a fireplace, be sure the damper is tightly closed to prevent air loss.
• Keep furniture and draperies away from air vents inside the house. Air should be allowed to flow freely throughout the home.
• Shrubberies growing against the outside walls, as well as trees that shade the roof, act as a barrier against the sun and can reduce the amount of energy required to cool your home. However, keep shrubbery trimmed away from the outdoor compressor unit so that there is ample room for good air circulation.

SWEPCO customers are encouraged to practice these measures to make it through the summer while using energy wisely.

Scott McCloud, Communications Consultant