Helpful hints from Major Energy for keeping your bills lower and dealing with the heat during this hot summer

* Set the thermostat of your central air conditioner at 78 degrees F or higher to achieve maximum savings on your cooling costs.  Setting the room temperature on the air conditioner at 75 degrees costs about 15 percent more. A 72-degree setting costs about 30 percent more than the 78-degree setting.
* Install a timer or clock thermostat on your air conditioner so you can program it to operate and shut-off at pre-determined hours. That saves you from running it all day so you return at day’s end to a cool house.
* If you have a room air-conditioning unit, close off the rooms not being used; if you have central air, block off the vents for un-used rooms.
 * Plan cooking, baking or other household activities that produce heat and humidity for the cooler times of the day and night.
* Use a portable or ceiling fan to circulate the pre-cooled air in your air-conditioned home. A fan uses about 90 percent less energy than an air conditioner.
* In very humid weather, adjust your air conditioner’s fan to a low setting. It’ll take longer for the air conditioner to cool your home, but your unit will bring in steamy air at a slower rate and make you feel more comfortable.
* As the sun moves from east to west during the day, pull your curtains and shades on windows to block out the heat.
* Aside from your cooling system, the refrigerator is the largest energy-using appliance in the typical home, representing 20 percent of the typical electric bill.
* Maintain a constant temperature in the refrigerator of between 36 and 38 degrees for maximum effectiveness. The freezer should be kept at 15 degrees.
* If the temperature outside is 95 degrees or more, change the refrigerator temperature to a higher setting so it does not have to work as hard.
* Cover liquid items. They give off humidity that forces the refrigerator to use more energy.
* Maintain a full freezer or add ice cubes so it is full, and does not have to cool open air space that takes more energy.
* Place the most used items in one place so that the door will be open for a shorter period of time.
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