"This week will be the summer's hottest so far over the Lower 48 states" reads the headline in the July 24 edition of The Washington Post's The Post Most. The dog days of summer are most certainly here, but there are ways to cool your home without breaking the bank.
Energy companies and other experts suggest the following energy-saving tips:
- Close your window blinds, especially those that get the most sunlight during the day so any on the east and west sides of your home.
- Turn your thermostat up a few degrees to reduce cooling costs. Some experts suggest turning it no lower than 20 degrees below the high temperature. However, with the heat waves we've been experiencing the suggested settings are 75-80 degrees (with 78-80 being optimal).
- Avoid using appliances, like ovens, dryers, etc., that produce heat when it’s hot outside.
- Set your ceiling fans to spin counterclockwise to pull warm air up and push cool air down. This can usually be accomplished by flipping a switch on the bases of your ceiling fans.
- Box and other portable fans can help move air through your home. Adding a bowl or container of ice in front of a fan will cool areas even more.
If your household needs electric and/or cooling assistance, here are a few programs and services to help:
The federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps income-eligible families manage their energy costs. For more information on HEAP, visit https://development.ohio.gov/individual/energy-assistance/1-home-energy-assistance-program.
The Ohio Department of Development also has the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program for income-eligible Ohioans to receive help paying their electric bills, purchasing an air conditioner or fan, or making repairs to their central air conditioning units. For more information, visit: https://development.ohio.gov/individual/energy-assistance/3-summer-crisis-program.
The Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) through the Ohio Department of Development makes monthly payments more affordable, and paying on time and in full each month reduces the outstanding balance. For more information PIPP, visit https://development.ohio.gov/individual/energy-assistance/2-percentage-of-income-payment-plan-plus.
Contact your electric company to see if they have a payment plan program. You can also contact your local Community Action Agency and/or call 211 from anywhere within the state for information and referral.