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Stay Cool For Less This Summer

Heating and cooling account for about 56 percent of energy use ó making it the largest energy expense ó in the typical American home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

For electric utility customers in New Richmond, rising temperatures donít have to lead to rising electricity bills. To stay cool with less added expense, New Richmond Utilities recommends taking the following simple steps at home:

  • Take advantage of nature. Keep windows open at night when temperatures drop and close them in the morning to keep the cooler air inside. Close blinds during the day to block some of the sunís warmth.

  • Turn up your thermostat to reduce the expense of cooling your home. A level of 78 degrees while at home and 85 degrees while away will help maintain comfort.

  • Use ceiling fans or whole room air circulation fans. The air movement in the room makes it feel 4 degrees cooler or more, and they use about as much energy as a 100-watt light bulb.

  • Window fans can also be used strategically. In one area of the house, place fans with the back of the fan facing toward the outside to draw cooler air inward. On the opposite side of the house (or upstairs, if there are two stories), place fans with the back facing into the room to draw warm air out of the house and blow it outside.

  • Close the blinds or curtains during the day to block the sunís heat.

  • Use an outdoor grill or a microwave for cooking. The latter uses about two-thirds less energy than a stove and doesnít heat up the house.

  • Keep your air conditioner filter clean and replace it when necessary to save 5 percent to 15 percent on cooling costs. A dusty filter reduces air flow and increases energy consumption.

  • Even if you canít hang your clothes outdoors, you can dry clothes on an indoor rack or by using the low- or no-heat cycle on your dryer to cut costs. Additionally, you can save up to $63 per year by washing everything in cold water, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.

  • Get rid of the old garage refrigerator, which may be costing you up to $150 a year in electricity costs.

  • For more information, call 715-246-4167 or see Focus on Energy.