Wednesday, May 11, 2022

May Heat Wave Conservation Tips



 May typically brings mild temperatures, helping customers avoid air conditioning especially in the early part of the month. May 2022 is different, with daily highs in the 90s setting new records this week!  

How you react to these temperatures will have an impact on your electricity use and your upcoming MLGW bill. 

Use less and pay less. 

  • Ceiling fans and portable fans cost far less to operate than your air conditioner.  
  • Fans make you feel cooler by creating a breeze which speeds evaporation from your skin, but they don’t physically change the temperature so remember to turn off fans if you are leaving the room for more than a few minutes.
  • Windows allow sunlight to enter your home, so use window coverings on the east side of home in the morning and west side in the afternoon to reduce the amount of heat that enters.
  • Gaps around windows and doors allow hot air to invade your home, causing discomfort and higher utility bills.  First, lower storm windows and make sure your prime windows are lowered and locked (which creates a tighter seal).   If you feel a breeze around closed windows, look for gaps and seal with caulk or weatherstripping as needed.  Second, check the seal around your exterior doors.  It’s simple--close exterior doors tightly while it’s still daylight and look closely around all four edges.  If you can see sunlight between the door and the frame, you need to repair/replace the weatherstripping (top and sides) or/and install a new threshold or door sweep (bottom).  Third, resist to urge to use your storm/security door as a window by leaving the exterior door open.
  • Air conditioner filters capture particles to keep your system working well.  Dirty filters not only cause the system to work harder, but also can wear out the system sooner.  Check your AC filter now.  Replace dirty disposable filters with high quality pleated media filters; if your AC has a reusable aluminum screen-type filter, wash and dry it thoroughly before reinstalling.  If you don’t do this regularly, set a reminder to check/change the filter each time you receive your MLGW bill.   If your home has multiple air conditioners, follow this advice for each system.
  • Vacuum the return registers for your home’s central air conditioner, as dust and debris impact system operation.  These registers, which are often located low on interior walls, pull room air back into the system through the return ducts so make sure they are not fully blocked by furniture or other items. 

Use more and pay more. 

  • Turning on your air conditioner always costs more than using fans and natural breezes for cooling.  However, you can select energy-saving settings on your home’s thermostat to minimize electricity use. 
  • MLGW recommends 78 degrees when you are home and higher if you will be away for more than a few hours.  While home, use ceiling fans and portable fans rather than lowering the thermostat. 
  • If 78 degrees and fans doesn’t meet your comfort needs, try lowering your thermostat setting one degree per day to find the best balance between comfort and cost.  Each degree below 78 adds 6% to your cooling cost, so a 72-degree setting will cost you 36% more! 
  • MLGW recommends getting your central air conditioning system professionally serviced each year.  A professional will check coolant levels and can identify any issues that may need immediate repairs to keep your system running reliably once the real heat of Summer begins. 
  • Install a programmable thermostat or smart thermostat to have better control over your AC operations—and likely save money on cooling costs.  A programmable thermostat enables you to schedule the times and temperatures at which your AC will operate.  (Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to program and keep 78 degrees in mind as an energy-efficient and cost-effective setting.)  A smart thermostat does the same but also has a mobile app or website that allows you to change settings remotely, which is great if your plans change so you don’t pay to cool an empty home.   Hire a professional if this project is beyond your DIY skills.

Track your home’s electricity use.

  • Remember that you can view your home’s electricity use in 30-minute periods through smart meter data available in My Account.  Login at, click Explore Usage and then click My Meter Data.  You’ll see a graph showing the last several days of daily usage.  Click the Electricity heading to expand the graph’s timeframe, then click on any individual daily bar in the graph to open that specific day’s details.  Use the navigation buttons to select a different day.
  • The X axis is labeled based on the start of the 30-minute interval and the Y axis labels scale automatically so they may vary from day-to-day. 
  • Information is updated overnight.
  • Similar consumption interval data is available for gas and water usage, which are presented in 60-minute periods. 

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