Staying cool while saving on AC bill: Alliant Energy tips

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Amid this week’s sweltering heat, Madison energy company Alliant Energy has some tips on how to stay cool – while also saving on your AC bill.

Stay cool:
• Close the shades – Keep your living space cooler by keeping the sun’s heat out.
• Close the doors to unused rooms – Only cool the spaces you use.
• Use your oven less – It can cause your AC to work overtime. Slow cookers, microwaves, pressure cookers and toaster ovens create less heat.
• Use cold water – Take colder showers, wash clothes in cold water and check to make sure your water heater is set at 120 degrees.
• Use bathroom fans and kitchen fans – both pull the hot air that rises after you cook or take a steamy shower out of your home.
Stay in control of costs:
• Get a smart thermostat –Talk with your family about setting it to 78 degrees when you are home, as high as comfortable at night and off while you are away.
• Clean or change your AC air filters – Your air handler will not have to work hard pushing air through a clogged filter, and that saves energy. Your air quality will also improve.
• Get an AC tune-up – Have a professional contractor tune up your AC unit to keep it performing at its best.
• Replace old incandescent light bulbs – They waste most of their energy in the heat they emit. Use LED bulbs—they stay cool and use a fraction of the energy, so you’ll save money year round.
• Control gadget use – Electronics that are off but plugged in are still using power. Smart power strips can reduce your electric bill by shutting off power to devices that go into standby mode. Some of them also have a few “always on” outlets for things that need them, like an alarm system.

Keep in mind:
• Hotter temperatures mean air conditioners are working harder to keep our homes cool – the larger the gap between the outside temp and your desired in-home temp, the harder your AC needs to work.
• High humidity makes it feel even warmer than the given temperature.
• When major appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners and dehumidifiers are not functioning well, they can use substantial amounts of electricity.
• Pool pumps and heaters can use a lot of energy depending on how frequently they run.
• School’s out! More time may be spent at home during the summer months with appliances, electronics and lights being used throughout the day.