PEORIA, Ill., July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- With temperatures predicted to be in the 90s and heat indexes exceeding 100 degrees over the next several days, the Ameren Illinois Utilities are providing information to help customers stay safe and comfortable while keeping energy costs as low as possible.
Typically, residential customers use more electricity during the summer months than the rest of the year. This additional electricity is used to operate air conditioners and fans.
However, there are steps customers can take to reduce the amount of electricity they use.
-- Turn the air conditioner's thermostat up. For each degree you increase the temperature, you can reduce electricity use by about 3 percent. -- Regularly change or wash (depending on type) air conditioner filters. This is especially important if you have pets or live in area that has a lot of dust. -- Use low-cost ceiling fans or other types of circulating fans. Circulating air feels cooler. Many people find this allows them to set the air conditioner thermostat at 76 to 78 degrees. -- Keep shades, curtains and blinds closed during the day to reduce effects of solar heating. -- Replace incandescent bulbs with Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Unlike incandescent bulbs, Energy Star qualified CFLs emit little heat and last up to 10 years. -- Consider turning off the air conditioner and opening windows on mild days or cool nights.
For more tips, visit our special Web site (http://www.actonenergy.net/). Select "For My Home" from the top menu and then select "Energy-savings Facts & Tips" from the left-hand menu.
The Ameren Illinois Utilities recommend customers enroll in the Budget Billing plan. This service allows customers to pay a level amount throughout the year. Customers can enroll on the Ameren Web site (http://www.ameren.com/) or by calling toll-free 1-888-672-5252 for AmerenCILCO, 1-888-789-2477 for AmerenCIPS and 1-800-755-5000 for AmerenIP.
The Ameren Illinois Utilities are committed to providing customers with safe, reliable energy services at the lowest possible cost.
The Ameren Illinois Utilities serve 1.2 million electric and more than 840,000 natural gas customers in Illinois.
Summer Safety and Cooling Tips from the Ameren Illinois Utilities Keeping you and others safe -- Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated, even if you aren't thirsty. -- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing to help stay cool. -- Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity and too much direct sunlight. -- Look in on neighbors, especially senior citizens. Some elderly people and those with certain medical conditions may not sense that indoor temperatures have reached dangerously high levels. Check in on these people during heat waves to make certain they are safe and comfortable. -- Go to cooling centers if the temperature in your home gets too high. -- Watch for signs of heat-related illness: difficulty breathing, dizziness or fainting, excessive sweating, headaches, confusion, nausea. If you suspect someone has a heat-related illness, have them lie down in a cool place, give them sips of cool water and call for help. -- Think cool, stay relaxed. Remaining calm in times of stress can help moderate your body temperature. Saving Money Today -- To cool a house efficiently, the air conditioner needs to be cool itself. Keep it in the shade. If the air conditioner is already in the sun, build a wood shade screen for it -- but make certain you don't block the air flow. -- With central air conditioning, cool the rooms that are used. Don't close more vents than necessary because closing too many vents reduces operating efficiency. -- Turn the air conditioner thermostat up when away from home for several days or longer. -- Don't switch the air conditioner to a colder setting when turning it on. Moving the thermostat up and down throughout the day wastes energy and money. Placing the thermostat at extremes won't cool a home faster, but will make the system work harder. -- Set the thermostat as high as possible. For each degree the temperature is increased, electricity usage will be reduced by 2 to 3 percent. Consider a setting of 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. -- Never place a thermostat on an exterior wall, where it would be affected by the hot or cold outdoor temperatures. Appliances that give off heat -- like lamps -- should be kept away from the thermostat. -- Consider replacing an existing thermostat with a new programmable model. -- Save energy by taking care of air conditioner coils. If they are dusty, dirty or clogged with old leaves, you can vacuum them with a household or shop vacuum cleaner. If the attachment on the vacuum cleaner won't fit between the coils, reverse the air flow and blow away dirt and debris. -- Regularly change or wash (depending on type) air conditioner filters. This is especially important if you have pets. -- Keep the heat out by drawing shades, blinds and curtains on hot days. -- If you have exhaust fans in your bathroom, laundry and kitchen, use them to help reduce the humidity burden on your air conditioner. These fans should not be used continuously, but only as required to remove humidity. -- Replace incandescent bulbs with Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Unlike incandescent bulbs, CFLS emit little heat and last up to 10 years. -- Consider turning off the air conditioner during mild days and cool nights. -- Use low-cost ceiling fans or other types of circulating fans. Circulating air feels cooler. Many people find this allows them to set the air conditioner thermostat at 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. -- Avoid activities such as cooking, washing clothes, showering or bathing and dishwashing during the afternoon and early evening hours. These activities will add heat to your home, making your air conditioning work harder. Saving Money Tomorrow -- There is no substitute for insulation. Add insulation if attic floor joists are visible. -- Use of weather-stripping and caulking prevents outside air infiltration. -- Make certain exterior doors have a tight fit. -- Consider replacing old windows. Storm or dual-glazed windows can reduce heat gain by as much as 50 percent. -- Look for the Energy Star qualified label when buying appliances, lights, heating and cooling equipment, home electronic products, office equipment and more. Energy Star consumers save money. In 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates the Energy Star program saved consumers about $16 billion on their utility bills, avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 27 million cars. For information, call 1-888-STAR-YES or visit: http://www.energystar.gov/. -- Significant savings can be realized by installing a high-efficiency air conditioner. Consider purchasing a central unit with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 14 or higher for greater operating savings. A SEER 14 unit is 40 percent more efficient than a SEER 10 unit. For window air conditioners, consider a unit with an energy efficiency ratio (EER) of 10.0 or higher. Replacing an EER 5.0 window air conditioner with an EER 10.0 unit can cut energy use by up to 50 percent. -- The Ameren Illinois utilities recommend customers enroll in the Budget Billing plan. This free service allows customers to pay the same amount each month of the year. Customers can enroll on the Ameren Web site (http://www.ameren.com/) or by calling toll-free 888-789-2477. -- Plant trees around the house. Trees substantially reduce energy use by shading roofs and walls from the summer sun and serving as a barrier against winter winds. For a free copy of "Planting Trees" for more details on proper tree selection, send an e-mail request to email@example.com.
The Ameren Illinois Utilities serve 1.2 million electric and more than 840,000 natural gas customers in a 43,700-square-mile area of Illinois.
Source: Ameren Illinois Utilities
CONTACT: Leigh Morris, +1-217-535-5228, or Neal Johnson,
+1-309-677-5284, both for Ameren Illinois Utilities
Web site: http://www.ameren.com/