COLUMBUS, Ga. -
Temperatures are heating up, and it's tempting to turn the temperature down in your home. If you're not prepared, that cold could come at a cost. Georgia Power representatives say for every degree you turn down your thermostat, it increases your energy usage by about 3 to 5 percent. That could lead to big bills during the summer months.
School teacher Richard Smith has lived in Columbus for nearly 30 years. He's familiar with the hot, muggy summers. He also knows the cost that comes with keeping it cool indoors.
"I'm a hands on type person. I like to do a lot of things and try to do what I can to cut down on cost and do it myself," said Smith.
Smith uses weather strips around his doors and windows and says his bills have remained constant most summers. We wanted to see how others could save on their energy bills this summer so we headed to Ace Hardware on Veterans Parkway. Tommy Gill says weather strips, like the ones Smith uses, are a good tool to keep energy bills low. He also suggests keeping air filters clean.
"As you use your air filters it picks up dust and dirt particles from the air and those tend to clog up the filter. If you change it regularly it allows the air to flow more freely through the unit," said Tommy Gill.
Georgia Power officials say heating and air conditioning account for 50% of home energy usage. Before you think about pushing the temperature way down on your thermostat, think about the cost.
"Typically you can only get about a 20 degree difference in temperature from outside to inside. They'll set the thermostat on 72 degrees when its 98 degrees outside. It will probably never get to 72 in the house and that will cause the AC to run all day," said Mike Miles at Georgia Power.
Miles says 78 degrees is the ideal temperature to keep your thermostat. You can also run ceiling fans which will keep your home about 6 degrees cooler. Also, change those air filters every month or 2 in order to keep your system running as efficiently as possible. You could also think about changing out yourlight bulbss. Miles says CFLlight bulbss are equivalent to a 60 wattlight bulbt but only use 13 watts of energy.