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Stop Summer Energy Drains

Article was added on Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Floyd L. Keels - Thumbnail

Summer vacation can be a recipe for high electric bills with children home and in and out of the house all day. About half of your home's energy costs come from heating and air conditioning alone, so try these tips to keep costs down when the temperature rises.

Air-conditioning units

More people in the house plus doors hanging open from the last trip to play outside plus high temperatures equals an air-conditioning unit that has to work harder to keep the house cool. Be sure to adjust settings to maximize efficiency, such as using the "auto" function instead of keeping the fan running all the time.

Regular maintenance to keep your air conditioner or heat pump in good working order is a good idea, as is checking and changing the air filter every few months or if it's dirty.

Also, set your thermostat as high as you can-the smaller the difference between indoor air and the great outdoors, the lower your cooling costs will be. Your bill can be reduced by about five percent for every two degrees higher you set your unit. And make sure to rearrange your furniture so that appliances that put out a lot of heat aren't near the thermostat.

Avoid 'phantom' load

Get your family in the habit of turning electronics on and off via power strips as they move from one activity to the next. As electronics and appliances become more technologically savvy, they often draw power even while turned off. A good indicator of this-called "phantom load"-is to check the device for a light that stays on all the time.

Phantom load will add a few watt-hours to energy consumption, but a few watt-hours on each of your many electronic devices adds up. To avoid this silent power draw, unplug the device or invest in a "smart" power strip, which allows certain electronics-like a cable box, which takes time to reboot after it's been unplugged-to continue using electricity while others can be completely shut down.

Your electric cooperative is a resource

As you work this summer to stop energy drains, don't forget about Santee Electric Cooperative. There is information about saving energy on our website An energy efficiency expert can also help you determine the right steps for your home, including whether an energy audit will help find more savings. You can also visit to find out how little measures around the house add up to big energy savings.

Floyd L. Keels              
President and Chief Executive Officer

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