ATLANTA — As many are aware --- it's hot in Georgia and money's tight for millions of people as people deal with high gas and food prices.
Plenty of people have heard of closing doors in one's home and changing A/C filters as a way to save a few cents and make a home more energy-efficient. But, are there other free or low-cost ways to save money and cool a home?
11Alive is getting you answers.
Are there other free ways to save money and cool down your home?
The. U.S. Department of Energy
WHAT WE FOUND:
There are plenty of things people can do right now without having to install new equipment or make expensive changes to one's homes.
The U.S. Department of Energy reported 76 percent of sunlight that hits a standard double pane window turns into heat. It's recommended to turn blinds upwards or shut them all the way to reduce the heat coming into a home.
The average wattage of standard ceiling fans is 30W to 50W. According to LearnMetrics, running a fan for a month will cost anywhere from $2.85 to about $5 per month.
In addition, there's a science to how the fan rotates. Check ceiling fans for a small switch located beneath the blades. Click the switch to make a fan rotate counterclockwise. This allows the air to push down, creating a cool breeze.
Now onto the star of the show: the air conditioner and thermostat. Georgia Power reports about 46 percent of an average power bill comes from heating and cooling the home. The Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat at 78 degrees. On average, running the A/C at 78 for 8 hours a day is 10 percent cheaper than running it at 74 for the same length of time.
Also, HVAC specialists recommend following the 20-degree rule. Most A/C units can only handle cooling down a home by 20 degrees. So, it's best to set the thermostat 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. If it's 95 outside, set it to 75. If it's 100, set it to 80. This prevents putting strain on the A/C, which could lead to a costly repair later down the line.
Finally, there are ways to lower one's energy bill. Check with your power company. Most offer budget billing or a program that allows you to sign up and have your payments set for around the same amount each month.
And companies like Georgia Power offer an energy checkup tool that gives a customized report of how consumers use their energy and how to save money
In addition, Georgia Power, The Georgia Department of Family and Child services and other Georgia departments offer home energy efficiency assistance programs. If you are low-income and qualify, they’ll make improvements to your home to save energy and money.