Local experts offer tips for staying cool while keeping utility bills low

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s another week filled with sweltering heat which may tempt people to crank up the AC, yet local experts say that could be a wasted effort that does serious damage to one’s wallet.

Air conditioning can only get so cold on hot days. The cooler the AC is set, the higher the utility bill. WNCT went to local experts to get some tips on how to keep AC running properly, which ultimately keeps utility bills lower during hot summer days.

Greenville Utilities offers the following tips:

  • Clean or change air filters monthly
  • Use ceiling fans or portable fans
  • Switch central AC to auto
  • Set the thermostat to 78 when at home and 85 or off when away

Sam Pollard and Son Owner Walt Pollard says it’s best to try to deal with the heat while it lasts.

“If you’re trying to get a 70 or a 72 degree temperature or even a 68 or 69 degree temperature, it’s probably not going to happen in this type of heat and it’s going to make the air conditioner run so much that it’s going to negatively affect it,” Pollard said.

People can save about 4% in cooling costs for every degree the thermostat is set above 78.

“Turning the temperature up 3 to 5 degrees and I’m talking about warmer than you would normally keep it. That’s going to reduce how much the air conditioner has to work. You’re still going to feel comfortable because the air conditioner’s still going to be running. It’s still going to be taking out humidity, which is our main problem in eastern North Carolina,” Pollard said.

Pollard says this time of year, he sees lots of AC units that are improperly maintained, so it’s important to get the unit checked twice a year before it starts malfunctioning.

With AC units working overtime, some will break down. The Eastern North Carolina Better Business Bureau warns people to look out for AC repair scams. Do research, check credentials, ask for a free estimate from more than one contractor, and get a written contract.

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