[ Photo from LaurenceTrucker's Flickr ]
Each degree you set your thermostat below 78° F could amount to a 5-7% increase in your cooling cost which is pretty substantial when you start adding up the days. (For the cold months, each degree you set your thermostat above 70° F can increase your heating bill by the same amount).
Here's some tips from Reliant Energy about how to offset your energy usage:
1. If you have a manual thermostat, consider switching to a programmable model. If it's properly programmed, this can save you up to 10% in cooling costs. They're also more accurate than manual models and you can program it to turn off the AC when you're not at home. Don't want to come to a hot house? You can set these programmable models to automatically cool your house down right before you come home.
2. Leave the fan setting on your thermostat to Auto so that the motor blower only operates when the compressor is running. If you place the fan on "On," it'll run continuously and cause heat and humidity build up in your home.
3. If you do have a programmable thermostat, check out the suggested schedule and settings at Reliant's Thermostat tips.