Warm temperatures bring high utility bills - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Warm temperatures bring high utility bills

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May 25, 2005

Valdosta - Bruce McMillan stays busy this time of year.  "We're real busy these last couple of weeks," said McMillan.

He makes his rounds doing maintenance checks on air conditioning systems.  It's something he says everyone needs twice a year to save money on their power bill. "If its low on freon its going to cause it to run longer, if the coils are dirty its not going to cool properly because its not moving enough air through the coils," said McMillan.

It takes a trained professional like Bruce to detect many of the problems that can overwork your air conditioner, but there are some things you can spot on your own. Start by checking your air filter every time you pay your power bill. "If you're seeing dust all over it like this, its time to get it changed and it can make the unit work about 30 percent harder if the filter's stopped up," said McMillan.

Another way to reduce your power bill is to make sure your blinds are closed, especially the ones on the side of your house that faces the sun. "Reducing the heat coming into the house will make a dramatic difference in the amount of cooling its going to take to bring the temperature of the house down," said Rowe.

And while it may seem high to some, keeping your air conditioner set to 78 degrees will keep your power bill from climbing. "Set it as high as you can and still maintain the comfort level, the higher you can set it, the less its going to cost you to operate it," said Ricky Rowe.

You also want to make sure your air conditioning unit is up to date. Rowe says most units can operate efficiently for about 15 years. "If you've got a 20 year old system, you can probably reduce your operating cost by 40 to 50 percent with a new, more efficient heating and cooling system," said Rowe.

A few helpful hints to keep you cool this summer, and keep a little extra cash in your pocket.

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