Residents look for ways to curb energy bills in face of heat wave, rising costs

Energy costs have been on the rise, with little relief recently.

With June came a relentless heat wave, with one approximately week-long stretch of 95-plus degree days highlighting – or, depending on one’s outlook, lowlighting – that run. Air conditioners have been forced to run, and run and run some more. More people are working from home in 2022, meaning more home energy cost for many, and there’s not much relief for the business world either, where offices, stores and other venues forced to keep that AC blowing days and nights.

An exclamation point upon that is that Louisiana Entergy customers recently learned their bill will have an increase of roughly $25 per month, which the company says is necessary due to storm restoration expenses and rising natural gas costs.

As such, many locals are interested in finding ways to offset these increases and reduce electricity usage when possible.

One popular suggestion has been to do whatever is possible to limit the amount of sunlight entering the home from the outside.

“Use ceiling fans, minimize any outside light from outside, dress light, use your grill, do as much as you can early mornings or late evenings,” Connie Love of Norco offered.

Luling’s Dawn Carcich echoed the idea of ​​limiting sunlight, with a potential avenue to do so.

Room darkening curtains,” Carcich said. “When we remodeled after Ida we picked gray paint for our interior. (Run the) ceiling fan in every room.”

That gray color is quite relevant – The paint color one uses could mean the difference between a house absorbing or reflecting heat, making the temperature inside a warmer or cooler. Repainting might be a big step, but one that could pay dividends down the road.

Katherine Guillory of Des Allemands said utilizing UV black film on her home windows has had a tremendous impact on her family’s comfort level.

“We can’t see out of them, but the temperature change has been amazing,” said Guillory. “We’ve also turned our main unit to 85 while keeping a window unit in our living room on and the ones in our bedrooms on at night.”

Likewise, parish resident Joe Schneider said aluminum foil on his windows have helped the heat situation. Foil can prevent heat from coming through a window as aluminum is resistant to heat.

Entergy also recently offered a list of potential ways to curb electricity usage and cut costs:

  • Change air filters. Air filters on some air conditioning units require monthly cleaning or replacing.
  • Setting the thermostat to 78 degrees or the highest comfortable temperature. Every degree lower than 78 can raise a bill as much as 3 percent.
  • Buy a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat can help manage costs, is controllable, and can help monitor usage.
  • Use fans to cool off. Ceiling fans, box fans and oscillating fans use very little electricity to circulate the air. Make sure ceiling fans are rotating in the right direction – counter-clockwise during summer – to push cooler air down into the room. Be sure to turn all fans off in unused rooms.
  • Close blinds, shades and curtains to keep the sun out and the cool air in. Also, close air conditioning vents in rooms that are not in use.
  • Seal cracks and holes around doors, windows and ductwork. Weather stripping and caulk will help keep the cold air in and the hot air out.

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