# Problem Solvers: How to control your A/C cooling costs at summer temps soar

Posted
and last updated

TULSA, Okla. — Taking their son, Marquis, out to the park to play in the summer heat, Sarah Akins says she always looks for shade.

She knows she has very little control over the temperature outside.

But when she goes inside, back at home, Sarah regains control of her thermostat.

“I’m going to keep it as cool as I need to,” Sarah tells us with a slight laugh.

But her laugh gets tempered a bit when the more costly power bill arrives, with the AC running most of the time.

“I really don’t like hot weather, so I hibernate in the summer.”

When leaving her cool house, though, Sarah automatically performs a simple thermostat task that she hopes can cut down on the power bill.

“I just go up four or five degrees. I don’t have any science behind that. It’s what I think is probably good.”

Yet there could be some science backing Sarah’s thinking.

Wayne Greene with Public Service Company of Oklahoma says, “To control cost by reducing usage, we recommend customers set their thermostats a few degrees higher when they are away from home or sleeping. What number they choose is a question that customers are going to have to determine for themselves with a variety of issues in mind, including their pets.”

And conservation and efficiency Brian Pippin says you should remember one important tip, considering the AC can make up more than half of your electric bill.

“Every degree that you set your thermostat down by in the summertime to cool the home generally adds roughly adds 3 to 5 percent to the cooling portion of your utility bill.”

Certainly, something to keep in mind when setting your thermostat. But experts don’t ever recommend turning your AC off when going away for a while. It’ll just cost more to cool your house down when you get back. And remember, the AC also controls the humidity in your home.

As for Sarah, she’s noticed her 4-to-5-degree method seems to be the sweet spot, until mother nature’s temperature begins to slide, just like Marquis down that playground pole.

“I’ve noticed a little difference in our bill in these warmer months.”

So as Marquis and his family leave his favorite place to play, they know controlling the cost of the summer sun while cooling down doesn’t have to be complicated.

It can be as simple as child’s play.

Here are more ways to control your cooling bill.

Experts say using a programmable thermostat can make adjusting your home’s temperature more convenient and less costly.

Use ceiling fans with blades going counterclockwise in the summer to circulate cool air.

But turn the fans off when no one is in the room since fans cool people, not rooms.

Make sure your H-Vac filters are clean so your AC doesn’t work any harder than necessary to keep your home cool.

Keep curtains and blinds closed to keep the sun out.

Contact the Problem Solvers:

• 918-748-1502
• problemsolvers@kjrh.com

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere --