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When the Heat Rises, Electricity Bills Do, Too


UPDATED: Thursday July 18, 2013 12:11 PM

As many in central Ohio are dealing with temperatures near 100 degrees, air conditioning units and other appliances are running on full blast.

And while they provide a cool and comfortable living environment, they can cause a much more uncomfortable utility bill.

Terri Flora, a spokeswoman for AEP Ohio, said that while hot summer days can be inconvenient for your household budget, there still are some tips and tricks to lower your monthly total.

Flora says the key to saving money is “changing your habits,” because many people try to change the type of appliance they have -- but not necessarily the frequency in which it is used.

An air-conditioning unit is typically the biggest energy consumer during hot summer days. Common alternatives include using ceiling fans and opening windows, but even just notching the AC up a few degrees can save money.

“Much of it is based on comfort,” Flora added. “We’re not going to tell people to shut their air conditioning units off, but there are alternatives.”

Other energy hogs include dishwashers and dryers.  

“Make sure your dryers are fully loaded before using them,” Flora said.

She also added that taking shorter, cooler showers can help lighten your energy bill. According to Flora, many water heaters are set much higher than what the average household requires.

Flora said that while refrigerators are not necessarily the biggest energy consumers, many households have excess refrigerators that are not being used – and getting rid of those can save up to $150 a year.

“Look at what’s plugged in,” Flora said. Many electronics, like ones that have clocks or stand-by lights, use energy even when they are shut off. Hooking them up to power strips and flipping them off and on can save money too.

Flora said just thinking about how you could use less -- being proactive and smart about your energy consumption -- is what can really save you money.

The peak energy consumption times for AEP customers in central Ohio is between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

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