CHANDLER, Ariz. -- As the temperatures start to rise across the Valley, a lot of homeowners will be tempted to lower the thermostat. But every drop in degree means an increase in the energy used and that can end up costing you.
According to Laure Molek, a marketing specialist with the Salt River Project, there are simple ways to keep your home cool while still saving money.
"It’s very important to make sure your house is cool in the summertime," Molek said, "but it’s even more important to make sure that you’re saving energy and … spending that money wisely."
A simple way to save energy includes weather stripping, which Molek said closes gaps in doors and windows. Homeowners can also insulate their electrical outlets and use LED light bulbs.
"One of the main things to do is to get your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) checked twice a year," Molek added.
A regulated thermostat can also provide significant savings, she said. Some thermostats can be scheduled by day of the week and time of day, which can decrease energy costs by about $180 a year.
Lesley Warmouth, a homeowner and SRP customer, uses a Honeywell thermostat in addition to these other energy-saving measures. She said it has been easy to program the new thermostat around her family’s schedule.
"Because of our thermostat, the way that it is and how easy it is to program, we really don’t have to do a lot else," she said.
Warmouth's energy bill would reach as high as $500 during the summer but the new thermostat has lowered it to about $350.
Every change in degree can mean a 2 to 3 percent change in annual energy costs, according to Molek. The thermostat should stay between 78 and 80 degrees while at home and a few degrees higher while away.
Shade screens are also an affordable way to conserve energy while keeping the home cool. A homeowner can put the screens on windows that face the sun during the summer and remove them for the winter.
Warmouth’s home has shade screens on the windows, which she said were easy to install and have made a big difference in keeping her home cool.
"They were a lot simpler than I realized they would be," she said. "They go right over our windows."
An Energy Star representative can also determine a home’s vulnerabilities with a home energy audit, Molek said. The expert looks for hotspots in walls, inspects insulation and examines windows, making recommendations based on the findings.
You can find more information at SRPnet.com, including deals on thermostats, shade screens, contractors and HVAC inspections.