Home & Garden

Taming the Electricity Tiger

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With the warm, sunny weather of July and August comes the challenge of controlling electricity costs. We#re an air-conditioned society dependent on an almost infinite number of modern conveniences, but these pleasures add up and can take a financial toll quickly during summer.

Jackson Electric Membership Corporation, the United State#s third largest electric cooperative, offers several suggestions for taming the electricity tiger. The three biggest energy users in your home are the air conditioning and heating systems and the water heater. Each summer month, air conditioning represents 42 percent of your electric utility bill and your water heater 26 percent. Refrigerator, freezer and lighting/small appliance usage each contribute seven percent. Your clothes dryer equals five percent, your range four percent, your dishwasher just over one-and-a-half percent and your clothes washer less than one-half percent.

Simple energy conservation will help you lower your utility bills. So when the heat#s up but so is your desire to be comfortable, make sure the following issues have been addressed:

# Proper Attic Insulation

An insulation value of R-30 will help achieve greater comfort and lower your cooling bills.

# Be Wise. Know Your S.E.E.R.

The higher the seasonal energy efficiency ratio of your air conditioning system, the more efficient it will be and the less energy it will take to cool your home. In plain language, the SEER is the ratio of the air conditioner#s total cooling to its total energy consumption.

# Seal Ductwork.

Leaky ductwork can equal 10 to 30 percent of total cooling costs. Seal ducts permanently with mastic.

# Set temperature at 78 degrees.

Lower settings increase operating costs approximately five percent for every degree below 78.

# Keep equipment clean.

Clean or replace air filters every one or two months.

Of the 153,000 customers served by Jackson EMC in 10 North Georgia counties, 51 percent live in Gwinnett County.