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Save on your summer bills with these thermostat tips

The return of summer heat prompts most homeowners to turn down their thermostat. But before you crank the AC, learning to set your thermostat effectively can be a game changer for you and your utility bills.

In the summer, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting  your thermostat to 78°F when you’re at home. At night or when you’re away, bump it up a few degrees. Turning up your thermostat by 7° to 10°F from its normal setting for 8 hours a day can save you about 10 percent a year on heating and cooling, according to the Energy Department.

It’s certainly tempting on a hot day, but setting your thermostat to a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner will not cool your home faster. In fact, the excessive cooling could result in a bigger bill.

Instead, you can manage your home’s temperature more effectively with a programmable or smart thermostat. With the ability to schedule temperature adjustments, you can avoid the discomfort of returning to a warm home and having to wait for the AC to kick in. Schedule your thermostat to return to a more comfortable temperature just before you wake up or return home. 

You can learn more about smart thermostats by reading CUB’s fact sheet. ComEd and Ameren customers can enjoy a rebate of $100 on a smart thermostat.

Also, consider these tips for staying cool in the summer:

  • Use ceiling fans. In the summer, run the fan counterclockwise. Make sure to turn the fan off when you leave the room.
  • Swap your long pants and shirt for short sleeves and shorts.
  • Drink a cool beverage. In fact, try to drink about four to eight glasses of fluids a day. Remember, drinking too much alcohol promotes dehydration.
  • Avoid heat-producing tasks — baking or laundry, for example — until the night or early morning, when it’s cooler. Making meals in the microwave or grilling out prevents the kitchen and the rest of your house from heating up. 
  • Turn off and unplug appliances that can heat up your home (TV, computers, laptops, lights). 

For more tips, read our WatchBlog and order free copies of CUB’s newly updated Guide to Home Savings and Guide to Going Green.