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NV Energy program helps homeowners find ways to save

Triple-digit temperatures don’t mean your electric bill has to triple, too. NV Energy is out to educate home owners on how to keep their bills as low as possible.

A representative can come to your home to do an energy evaluation at no cost.

It should come as no surprise that 65 percent of one’s summer energy use is directly attributable to air conditioning. Keeping A/C units in good running order is tantamount to taming one’s electric bill.

Emily Huffman, energy educator for NV Energy, said programmable thermostats are big energy savers. They can be set for 82 to 85 degrees when the house is empty and then back to 78 to 80 degrees when it’s not.

Summerlin resident Jennifer Schuricht programs her thermostat so that it kicks down five degrees before she leaves work.

“It’s always comfortable by the time I get home,” she said.

Home owners with two stories and two A/C units can take advantage of balancing each unit’s output so the occupied floor is the more comfortable zone. At night, the non-bedroom-floor unit should be set warmer by five degrees, Huffman said. Always remember when programming the thermostat that heat rises.

Turning off one air conditioner is not wise as it means the remaining unit is stressed by extra duty.

Ceiling fans are a homeowner’s friend. By creating an air flow, the temperature can feel about seven degrees cooler, Huffman said. Turn ceiling fans off in rooms that are unoccupied.

The hottest part of the day is from 1 to 7 p.m. Not all the heat generated is from the sun. Avoid using appliances for baking and laundry during those hours.

A refrigerator in the garage is a nice convenience, but it’s a costly one. It uses three to four times the amount of energy as the one in the kitchen, Huffman said.

“The wasted amount of energy out weighs the amount of money you tried to save at Costco,” she said.

Give up that energy hog and NV Energy’s rebate program will garner you a $30 check — $50 this July and August.

Unplug items when not in use to avoid phantom power use — that trickle of electricity that adds to your bill. Claire McLaughlin of Henderson said she and her husband, Scott, “could be better about it. We do unplug things if we’re going away on vacation.”

An airtight home is an energy-efficient one. Attic insulation should be 10 inches thick. Outlets should be as air tight as possible. Seeing light all around your doorway equals a 4 -inch gaping hole in your wall, Huffman said.

Fluorescent bulbs are one of the biggest energy savers around. A 13-watt fluorescent bulb’s light is equivalent to the output of a 60-watt incandescent one. They last for years.

Sometimes, energy savers are just common sense: Plant shade trees, erect a patio cover and keep your blinds closed.

“When you’re walking through Home Depot or Lowe’s, there are so many options,” Huffman said regarding home improvements that can cut one’s energy bill. “To save money, go with (the changes) that provide the biggest bang for your buck.”

For information on any of NV Energy’s conservation programs — efficient pool pump rebates, refrigerator recycling and the CheckMe! Plus air conditioning program — visit nvenergy.com or call 402-1111.

Contact Summerlin and Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 387-2949.

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