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Indiana Experts Offer Tips to Prevent Summer Cooling Bill Sticker Shock

PHOTO: Experts say weatherization strategies can help Hoosiers reduce energy costs during the hot summer months. Photo credit: M. Kuhlman.
PHOTO: Experts say weatherization strategies can help Hoosiers reduce energy costs during the hot summer months. Photo credit: M. Kuhlman.
July 14, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS – Utility statement sticker shock is not uncommon during the summer months when hot weather can drive up cooling costs.

Charles Graf, vice president and managing director of Energizing Indiana, says weatherization strategies can help lower energy bills by keeping the precious cool air inside your home from seeping out.

"Education on how your home uses energy can have a big impact on your bills,” he points out. “You look at attic insulation levels, bringing those into compliance with code, and sealing your window joints – weather-stripping around your attic doors."

Ed Gerardo, director of the Indiana Community Action Association, says the air conditioning unit is a substantial driver of energy costs.

He says it's important to make sure it's operating properly and has a clean air filter.

"If we're counting on moving air through an air conditioner into the house and you have an air filter that's all plugged up, you're really restricting the flow of the air,” he explains. “You're reducing the efficiency of either the heating system or the cooling system."

A direct-load switch program offered by most Indiana utilities can also reduce cooling costs that cycles energy use in a customer's home for brief periods during peak demand times.

Graf points out keeping the shades closed, using ceiling fans, and programming the thermostat to go up when you are out can also be beneficial.

And he advises not dropping the temperature too low when you are home.

"If you can keep your house at a higher setting in the summer months without really turning it off completely,” he explains. “Sometimes dialing the air conditioning back a few degrees can make a big difference."

Gerardo says that there are great savings to be earned with weatherization, depending on the home.

"The Indiana Weatherization Assistance Program has traditionally run a realized energy savings of between 25 and 30 percent,” he says. “But some of those in individual houses can go as high as 75 percent."

Residents can learn more about weatherization programs through Energizing Indiana, their local community action agency or by contacting their utility provider.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN