With extreme temperatures and heat indexes forecasted to reach triple digits this week, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) reminds customers of ways to safely manage their energy use and save on their bills.
Rising temperatures may cause higher energy bills because customers are using more energy to cool their homes. During the summer, cooling typically accounts for approximately half of a customer’s energy use. Even customers who leave their thermostats at a set temperature will experience an increase in use when the temperature is extremely hot because cooling systems must work harder to maintain the set temperature. To help customers better manage energy bills and alleviate the impact of extreme temperatures on bills, BGE offers a variety of programs, billing options and energy-saving tips.
Customers can reduce their energy use by 20 percent or possibly more this summer by following a few simple, low-to-no-cost tips:
Manage your thermostat: For customers with central air conditioning, keep thermostats at a constant, comfortable level when at home. Raise the thermostat setting for days of extreme heat to save even more. Install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your home’s temperature settings when you’re away or sleeping. When used properly, a programmable thermostat with its four temperature settings can save about $180 a year in energy costs (Source: ENERGY STAR).
Check air conditioner size and placement: For those with room air conditioners, ensure that the appliance is sized properly for the room and turn off the unit if someone is not going to be in the room for an extended period of time. Place window air conditioners on the north or shady side of the house to avoid overworking the unit in the hot daytime sun.
Use fans to circulate air: For those without any air conditioning, we recommend ceiling fans or portable fans operating with the windows partially open to circulate fresh air into your home. For those with air conditioning, fans can be used to evenly distribute cool air and reduce your air conditioner’s “on” time.
Use appliances wisely: To reduce heat and moisture during the warmest part of the day, run appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers in the early morning or evening hours when it’s generally cooler outside. Also, use a microwave to cook, or barbecue outside, if possible, during the hottest days.
Keep shades, blinds and curtains closed: About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes through windows. Simply drawing blinds and curtains, which act as a layer of insulation, can reduce heat gain to your home. Awnings are even better and can dramatically reduce radiant heating. Window coatings and window film can reflect as much as 80 percent of direct rays from the sun (Source: ENERGY STAR).
Keep the hot air out: Turn off all unnecessary lighting and appliances, which add heat to the home. Keep doors to the outside, garage or attic firmly closed to keep cool air in and hot air out.
Look for energy-efficient appliances: When shopping for appliances such as refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners, look for the ENERGY STAR label. Newer, more energy-efficient models lower monthly operating costs.
Replace inefficient lighting: Replace your old standard incandescent bulbs with new compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. CFLs and LEDs use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and they last up to 10 times longer.