High Cost Of Cooling

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

July 25, 2005

As the high cost of cooling climbs, it could take a toll on your wallet. Dominion power tells us for every $1 we spend on utilities, 44 cents of that goes to changing the temperature.

"June my bill was 60 percent higher than it was in May," said Cassandra Mathis. "It's in the vicinity of $400."

Mathis is the new owner of a toy and gift store on the Downtown mall, which is a historic building--meaning--energy inefficient.

"It's not insulated really well and the vents aren't probably planned in the best way," said Mathis.

Keep furniture away from these vents to increase airflow. As for temperature, old tips like raising the degrees when you leave the building, may actually be a myth and make your bill more expensive.

"Don't move it up and down because it causes the unit to have to run longer to have to bring the temperature back down to the original setting, so pick a setting and leave it at that setting," said Neal Fowler, Service Manager at Southern Air.

Preventative maintenance will keep bills lower.

"Keeping the condenser coils clean, the evaporated coils clean, the filter changed monthly, and making sure the charge is correct on the unit," Fowler said.

Dominion power estimates that every degree you raise your thermostat in the summer will save 3 percent of your electricity bill.

Dominion also gives us tips like: don't run the washer and drier in the middle of the day because it only heats up your house more. In fact these two appliances cost us $150 to use on average per year. Use as much natural light as possible and keep shades on the windows because lighting, cooking, and appliances account for about 1/3 of the bill.

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