Simple ways to cut your power bill this summer

PHOENIX - Soon, temperatures and our electricity bills will be hitting the triple digits.

This summer we are testing out ways to try and lower energy costs when compared to the same time last year.

The biggest savings will likely be found in the air conditioner.

"It's the biggest energy sucker or consumer in your home. It uses about fifty percent of the energy in your home and that's a huge part of your bill," according to Kathleen Mascarenas with SRP.

An efficient running air conditioner means less money to operate it.

But getting there will take some effort. 

Small things like regularly changing the air filters and keeping vents open allow the a/c to "operate at optimum efficiency," according to Mascarenas.

The temperature on your thermostat is even more important.

"Ideally between 78 and 80 degrees when you're home," she said.

SRP recommends setting the temperature at 85 when you are not home. And Mascarenas says every degree above 80 "you save about two to three percent on your cooling costs."

Savings could be even bigger with a programmable thermostat and a time of use plan. That's because you can turn down your a/c when rates are lower and then "precool that home for three hours before that peak time."  The theory is that your a/c uses a lot less energy during the most expensive time of the day.

Also make sure to flip the switch and make ceiling fans turn counterclockwise to push cold air down.

Something else to keep in mind, "the ceiling fan cools the body, it doesn't cool the room," Mascarenas said. That means you can save energy by turning the fan off if you are not in a room.

Sunscreens for windows could reduce your bill by as much as 25 percent according to SRP. Installation can range for $300 to $900 but Mascarenas says SRP offers rebates based on the size of your home.

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