By Jim Donovan

by Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – On summer days when we struggle with soaring temperatures, it’s likely that your electric usage is soaring too, which means shelling out more cash when the utility bill arrives. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has some money saving advice when trying to keep cool.

On hot summer days, energy usage can shoot up by a third. By easing the load now, your electric bill will be lower later.

“Always keep your blinds, shades and drapes closed during the hottest hours of the day to prevent the sunlight from entering your home,” says Cathy Engel-Menendez of PECO.

As far as appliances are concerned, “you really want to put off doing any chores that involve appliances that generate heat or humidity. So think of your clothes dryer or your dishwasher,” says Engel-Menendez.

When it comes to dinner, avoid using your oven or stove; instead use a microwave, or better yet, grill out.

When using window air conditioners or central air, be sure that the filters are clean and that vents are open and not blocked by furniture or curtains. “Use fans, whether it’s a ceiling fan or a regular portable fan, use that to help circulate the cooler air, it’s really going to take a little bit of the pressure off the air conditioning system and make it work more efficiently,” explains Engel-Menendez.

If you have central air conditioning, invest in a programmable thermostat. Keep the temperature at 78 to 80 during the day, and then lower it to a more comfortable setting when you get home from work.

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