Utility costs can rise with the heat and humidity

Higher temperatures means higher electric bills. They go hand-in-hand.

While the weather is out of your control, there are a few steps you can take to better manage your electricity use and its costs.

“Given the recent heat wave that we’re in, it’s a good opportunity for folks to remember that there are a lot of no-cost and low-cost steps that will add up and will help you keep the summer electric bill in check,” said Anthony Swinger with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.

One of the first things he recommends is that people remember that the air conditioning is “the big driver.” Anything an individual can do to help ease stress on the air conditioning unit is going to work to their benefit.

They also have several other tips to help keep those energy expenses in check during the hot, summer months:

Cook with a microwave during the day. On 90-plus degree days, it’s best to wait until evening to use the oven, wash dishes, do laundry or use other large appliances.

Give exhaust fans a break because they can quickly pull cool air out of the building. If you need to use one, keep it on for the shortest amount of time possible.

Use ceiling fans when you’re in the room but turn them off when you leave. Ceiling fans should turn counter-clockwise during the summer.

Keep the thermostat at the warmest comfortable temperature, and raise it a few degrees if no one will be home for more than five hours.

Move TV’s and appliances, especially older ones, away from the thermostat because of the heat they give off. And move lamps away from the thermostat if you’re using traditional incandescent bulbs.

Keep blinds, shades, draperies windows and storm doors closed, especially in the afternoon.

Check the temperature on your water heater. For most households, it doesn’t need to be higher than 120 degrees.

Turn off all lights, computers, TV’s and other appliances if you are not using them. Use timers for these items in your home when going on vacation.

Clean or vacuum the coils on your refrigerator.

Close your refrigerator and freezer doors on a dollar bill, and then try to pull the bill out. If it slides out, then your gaskets are loose and are letting cold air seep away.