Reported By Justin Bruce, Meteorologist - bio | email
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Record temperatures have put a strain on air conditioners this summer. Customers now face larger-than-usual bills as a result of trying to keep their homes cool.
Laurie Parker of Nashville Electric Service told Nashville's News 2 the long stretch of triple digit temperatures will be noticeable when the bill comes.
"Customers are obviously going to see higher bills this month because of the heat, and you know, [the bill] could be quite a bit higher," she said.
Parker says it doesn't take much additional heat to strain your home's ability to keep cool.
She said, "Even just five degrees hotter can have a big impact on how often your air conditioner has to run, and how much stress that then puts on [Nashville Electric Service's] system."
Electrical use at NES this summer peaked at 2,477 megawatts on July 5, when temperatures outside soared to 104 degrees.
A few days later, temperatures in the 80s translated to a usage rate of roughly 1,500 megawatts.
The energy provider's all-time record of 2,712 megawatts happened on August 9, 2007, when temperatures also reached 104 degrees.
The energy provider stresses energy efficiency and energy conservation to help customers keep their homes cool without breaking the bank.
Here is a complete list of helpful hints to improve your home's energy efficiency and lower your electrical bill:
Raise the thermostat - on average, 43% of your electrical bill comes from heating or cooling your home. Setting the temperature to 78 degrees instead of 75 degrees will make a difference.
Program the thermostat - if you have a programmable thermostat, use it! Almost half of programmable thermostats aren't actually programmed. Allow your home to warm when no one is home, and set the thermostat to cool back down right before you get home from work. This can lead to an annual savings of 30%.
Don't let the cool air out - make sure window air conditioning units are tightly sealed to keep that cool air inside. Use plastic film or caulk to shore up any old windows that may leak the cool air outside. Extra insulation in the attic can also help your help stay cooler. You may enjoy 20% energy savings if you create a proper "thermal boundary" around your home.
Shut the doors and cooling vents to any unused rooms in your home.
Close the shades - use blinds or drapes to block out the sunlight, which will quickly warm your home. Consider planting bushes or trees outside, especially on southern and western exposures, for a long-term solution.
Unplug unused electrical devices.
Drop the temperature on your water heater during the warm seasons. Reducing a 50-gallon tank's temperature from 130 degrees to 115 degrees will save about $50 annually. Also, simply take cold showers to automatically keep your body cool!
Keep your kitchen cool - reduce how often you use the oven in the summer. Using the microwave, grilling outdoors, ordering in, or eating out are all delicious ways to cut down on the added heat of preparing a meal at home!
Replace old light bulbs with new compact fluorescent bulbs - the new bulbs use less energy, of course, but also give off less heat than the old version.
Use a fan to help circulate the air in your home - the added air movement will help wick sweat off your skin, which cools your body.
Replace your air conditioner - this is an expensive fix, but replacing an old unit with a new energy-efficient one could cut your energy use by 50%.