Tips for keeping you and your energy bills cool this summer - Albuquerque Journal

Tips for keeping you and your energy bills cool this summer

It is hot outside. According to PNM, demand for electricity is highest during the summer cooling season. A typical family that uses cooling can expect to see that higher use reflected in their summer bills. But there are ways to help you be energy efficient and save some money – and some practical ideas to help us be more comfortable in the heat.

Summer energy tips

• Service your air conditioner or swamp cooler. Replace or clean the air filters.

• On cool mornings and evenings open windows to take advantage of natural cooling. (Have a secondary locking system to prevent access to your home). Close the windows and doors when using refrigerated air.

• Use ceiling fans along with raising the thermostat by 2-4 degrees in the summer. Run the fan counterclockwise creating a downdraft. Set the thermostat at 78 or as comfort permits. According to PNM you will save 2% to 4% on electricity for every degree higher the thermostat is set.

• Avoid using large appliances during the hottest part of the day. According to the Almanac, 3 p.m. is the hottest part of the day.

• Cook outside instead of ovens in the home. Use a toaster oven or microwave rather than the standard oven when possible.

• Use window coverings to reduce the heat gains.

• Take advantage of natural light as possible and switch off interior lights.

• Turn the thermostat up when you leave home or use a programmable thermostat.

• Seal your duct work.

• Check the weather stripping in your windows and doors and replace as needed.

The following information is from PNM. If you are not a PNM customer, check with your utility provider to find energy efficiency programs.

A/C rebates

The PNM Cooling Rebate Program reduces the cost for residential customers to purchase and install certain energy-efficient cooling equipment in their homes. Rebates are available for evaporative (swamp) coolers, refrigerated air conditioners, room air conditioner, and window units. For more information about the PNM Cooling Rebate Program, visit PNM.com/coolrebate.

There are rebates available for large evaporative units and window-mounted evaporative units. Property landlords can participate. Rebates are on a first-come, first-served basis and are for a limited time only.

Fridge recycling

PNM offers a recycling program for refrigerators and freezers for residential and business customers. Through the program, PNM will give customers $75 for their old working refrigerator or freezer and pick it up for free. For more information about the PNM Refrigerator Recycling Program, visit PNM.com/fridge or call 1-877-838-1139. Additionally, with a PNM Home Energy Checkup, customers may qualify for rebates on new refrigerators and freezers.

Refrigerated A/C tune-up

Get a free A/C tune-up on your refrigerated air conditioner and start saving energy and money on your bill. You can increase the efficiency of your refrigerated air conditioner unit, which will help reduce your electric bill. Visit pnm.com/actuneup to see the customer qualifications and find an authorized contractor.

Home Energy Checkup

PNM customers can learn how to be more energy efficient throughout their homes. They may also qualify for rebates on several appliances to use throughout their home. To sign up for a Home Energy Checkup, visit PNM.com/checkup.

Having efficient lighting in your home can help save you up to $65 a year on your electric bill. Instant discounts are available on LED light bulbs and many other energy-saving measures. Visit pnm.com/instantdiscounts for a list of discounted items and participating retailers.

Ideas to help you keep cool

• Take advantage of cooler mornings for outdoor activities – yard work and exercise.

• Wear loose-fitting clothing. Cotton clothing tends be keep you cooler. Wear a hat for the shade and to help protect your skin.

• Use a water spray bottle with cool water to spray your face – think of it as a portable swamp cooler.

• Wear a cooling neck wrap. Purchase or make your own with instructions on the internet.

• Use a portable battery-operated fan for the up-close breeze.

• Freeze water bottles. Take them with you when you leave the house. As the ice melts you have nice cold water. Drink lots of water.

• Rather than hot meals, eat cool foods. Freeze grapes or cherries, let them thaw slightly before eating. Make popsicles – kids of all ages can enjoy!

• Spend time in cool public space. Enjoy a good book at the library. Visit a community center for an interesting program or a meal.

• Find relief at community pools. Remember sunscreen.

• Remember the pets. Do not take them for walks on hot pavement. If they are outdoor pets, be certain they have shade and plenty of fresh water.

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