PUCO offers energy efficiency tips

COLUMBUS – As the heat index outside rises, the consumption of energy to cool the inside of your home likely increases too. With the help of these tips from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), Ohio residents have the ability to use energy efficiently and better manage your energy bills.

Each day, most Ohioans rely on electric, natural gas and water to run your homes. During the summer, the electric used to run air conditioning and appliances can become costly. The PUCO encourages citizens to take the following steps to help your household stay cool.

• During the day, block the heat from the sun by closing windows, doors and curtains.

• To save money on cooling costs turn the thermostat to 80 degrees or higher when you are sleeping or away from home. Raising the temperature by 5 degrees for eight hours can reduce your cooling costs by 3-5 percent.

• Look for an air conditioning unit that is ENERGY STAR approved.

• Avoid creating unnecessary heat and humidity in the house during summer days. Plan to do heat and moisture-creating activities such as washing dishes, doing laundry, bathing and cooking before noon or after 8 p.m.

• Limit the amount of time you run kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans. Only run them for as long as it takes to get rid of any odors to minimize losing cool air.

• If you use a window air conditioning unit, make sure it fits correctly into the window to reduce the amount of cool air lost.

• Consider using a window fan, which requires as little as 1/10 the amount of energy needed to run an air conditioner.

• If furniture is covering vents and is effecting air flow, the air conditioning will have to work harder to reach the desired temperature. Keep vents clear for maximum results.

Sometimes conserving energy is as simple as flipping a switch. Here are some easy ways to reduce the energy you use around the house any time of the year.

• Save energy by turning off lights and appliances when you leave a room.

• Use compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) or LED bulbs. CFLs use as little as 1/4 the energy of regular incandescent light bulbs and can last 10 times as long.

• Your home computer can use a considerable amount of electricity. To save energy, turn it off while it’s not being used.

• Set the water heater thermostat to the warm setting, or 120 degrees. If you will be away from your home, turn the thermostat down even more. This will avoid using energy to reheat the same water while you are not there.

For more information on conserving energy in your home or for any utility-related concern, visit www.PUCO.ohio.gov or call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826).