Now is the time to begin preparing your home for those hot summer months. An energy-efficient home doesn’t just cut your energy usage - it can actually make you more comfortable in the heat.
Air conditioning is one of the biggest causes of high energy bills in the summer! For customers who want to keep bills low and avoid turning off air conditioning during extreme heat, AmerenUE’s Budget Billing can help by “leveling out” your monthly payments. This minimizes the effect of higher summer usage. Information about Budget Billing is available at www.amerenue.com.
UE’s website now offers customers a way to see, and then control, daily electric usage through the Energy Savings Toolkit. You will also find information on rebates for Energy Star®-qualified window A/C units ($50 rebate) and dehumidifiers ($25 rebate).
To help control utility bills, UE urges customers to keep these energy facts in mind:
• Shade your air conditioning unit. You can use a trellis with a vine on it to provide summer shade--just don't place the trellis so near the unit that it blocks the air flow.
• Setting the thermostat really low won’t help you cool down any faster. Air conditioning runs at the same "speed" regardless of the temperature setting.
• Set the thermostat as high as possible. The recommended energy efficient summer temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Use fans more and your air conditioner less. Ceiling fans help you feel cooler and more comfortable without lowering the thermostat. The air movement will typically allow you to raise the room temperature 3-4 degrees Fahrenheit and stay just as comfortable.
• For maximum efficiency and comfort without air conditioning, position the fan to blow air out of the house during daylight hours and pull cooler air into the house after dark. For a window fan to work properly there should always be another window open in the room the fan is meant to cool.
• If you have exhaust fans in your bathroom, laundry and kitchen, use them periodically to help reduce the humidity burden on your air conditioner.
• Your thermostat should never be placed on an exterior wall, where it would be affected by outdoor temperatures. Appliances that give off heat -- like lamps -- should be kept away from the thermostat.
• Consider placing a “heavy duty” timer on your room air conditioner or using a programmable thermostat on your central A/C. Hardware stores sell “heavy duty” timers and programmable thermostats.
• You can save energy by taking care of air conditioner coils. They won't work efficiently unless they are clean, so check them out every spring. If they are dusty, dirty or clogged with old leaves, you can vacuum them with your household vacuum cleaner. If the attachment on the vacuum cleaner won't fit between the coils, reverse the air flow and blow the dirt away.
• Don't forget to check your filter at the beginning of the cooling season. A clogged filter will use up to 5 percent more energy than a clean one. Remove the filter and try to look through it using a bright light. If you cannot see light easily, clean or replace the filter.
• Keep the heat out by drawing shades and curtains on hot days.
• When purchasing central air conditioners or window units, look for the Energy Star label to maximize efficiency.
• Weather-stripping and caulking prevents outside air infiltration. Simple things like making certain exterior doors have a tight fit, insulating between rafters, walls and floors, and in basements can make a difference.
AmerenUE, founded in 1902, provides electric and gas service to approximately 1.2 million customers across central and eastern Missouri, including the greater St. Louis area. UE serves 57 Missouri counties and 500 towns. The company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. For more information, visit www.amerenue.com.
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Contacts: Lisa Manzo, 314-554-6157, Mike Cleary 573-681-7137