PITTSBURG — The summer heat is on it’s way —  here are some ways to keep the house cool and the costs down.

Consumer Federation of America, Energy Star and Westar Energy provide ways to keep the dread of a high electric bill away.

According to CFA, families could spend, on average, over $2,200 on utilities — with energy usage as the top cost.

Tips
Air dry dishes instead of the dishwasher’s drying cycle and only wash full loads of dishes — and clothes.

Turn off lights and unplug electronics that are not being used.
According to CFA water heaters can be the second highest source of energy use. To avoid high cost because of heaters, the water heater thermostat can be lowered to 120 degrees fahrenheit.

Replace furnace, heat pump and air conditioning filters regularly. According to CFA a dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and cause problems with your equipment.

Heating systems should be checked once a year by a licensed professional who will make sure the system is operating efficiently and safely.
 

Caulk and weather-strip around drafty doors and windows to keep the cool air in and the hot air out. CFA said to apply easy-to-use spray foam insulation and look for openings and gaps around pipes, chimneys, lights, windows, basement brick and cement work.

Install programmable thermostats, which automatically adjusts the temperature during the day or at night — it can save up residents up to $100 a year.

 

CFA said lights with LEDs can save about $90 a year in electricity costs.

 

Look for products and appliances that have earned the ENERGY STAR label which meet strict new energy efficiency criteria that will reduce your utility bills.

Westar has an average payment plan which will average out the prior 12 months of usage. Any customer can enroll and it is good for customers who receives assistance.

“They can know how to budget and there will not be any huge spikes” Westar Community Relations Manager Ebony Clemons said.

Clemons said there are many tips on the Westar website about heating and cooling along with annual check-ups.

 — Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP.