PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As temperatures rise, your electric usage is no doubt soaring too. Cranking up the air conditioning means shelling out more money when the utility bill arrives. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has some money saving advice when trying to keep cool.

At the PECO command center they’re watching energy use rise as the temperature climbs. Keeping your home cool comes at a cost. For instance your air conditioner may be working harder than it needs to. Ben Armstrong of PECO recommends that you close your blinds, close your shades, and minimize the impact of the hot sun.

You also may want to skip daytime chores, and don’t use appliances that give off heat. Armstong says, “Dishwshers, washers, dryers, use those devices after seven or eight o’clock when the sun goes down and it gets cooler, to decrease the impact it has on your air conditioning.”

If you can, cook outside. Armstrong says, “Use your grill, don’t use your oven, don’t use your stove, they are two devices that do increase the heat in your home.”

Using a fan with your air conditioner will help with air flow.

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Making sure that vents are open and not blocked by furniture or curtains will help too. If you have central air conditioning, invest in a programmable thermostat. According to Armstrong, “Keep the temperature around 78 to 80 degrees and then lower when you get home to a setting that is more comfortable for you.”

Regardless of whether you use a window air conditioner or have central air, be sure that the air filters are clean. Also, with central air conditioning systems be sure the outside unit is free from debris like leaves and branches.

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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