Follow these tips to save money on your energy bill

It comes every month, and yet still seems to surprise you – that’s right, the electric bill.

That pesky number can ruin your day if it’s higher than expected. So, what’s the best way to cut costs?

John Kraft, spokesman for Georgia Power, has some tips that can help you save money on your next energy bill:

Cooling and heating

Energy bill costs tend to spike during the summer and winter months due to increased air conditioning usage or heating.

“Heating and cooling probably uses the most energy in your home,” Kraft said.

Kraft suggests using fans around the house that can help you feel several degrees cooler during the summer.

Fireplaces can be good sources of heat during the winter, but the damper should remain closed when a fire is not burning to prevent heat loss. Make sure the damper is closed during the summer to avoid cool air escaping, too.

Weather stripping to seal air leaks around doors or windows, or caulking to fill cracks and gaps can also prevent heat and cool air loss.

Managing your thermostat

Kraft also emphasized the importance of paying attention to your thermostat. Your target setting should be 78 degrees during the summer and 68 degrees during the winter.

“Every degree you go below 78 in the summer can add 2 to 3 percent to your bill, and vice versa during the winter,” he said.

Using programmable thermostats can help ease the burden of lowering and increasing the setting when you're in and out of your home.

Adjusting the drapes

Adjusting the drapes to where they keep the sun out can also prevent heat from seeping in through the windows. Do the opposite during winter months and keep curtains or drapes open to allow for natural heat from the sun.

Making sure drapes and other items are not covering the air conditioning vents is key, Kraft said, especially if the air conditioning vents are on the floor.

Changing the air conditioning filter

Regularly changing the air conditioning filter is crucial in terms of efficiency. Not changing the filter can make your unit work harder to cool your home.

Common mistakes

Kraft said that not checking the air conditioning filter at least once a month and not managing the thermostat are two of the biggest mistakes he sees clients make.

Another common mistake, he said, is having a second refrigerator running, especially in a space with no air conditioning, like a garage or basement.

“It can cost you $150 a year just to run that second refrigerator,” he said.

If you have a second working refrigerator and do not know what to do with it, you can dispose of it through Georgia Power. Georgia Power offers services where the company will pick the refrigerator up from your home, have it recycled and pay you $50 for the appliance.

Other solutions

Checking the insulation in the attic and the energy ratings on new appliances for efficiency can help lower the cost on your bill.

If you're a Georgia Power customer, online tools can help you track daily energy consumptions. You can also set up usage alerts and view a projected bill before it arrives.

Georgia Power also offers free services like energy audits. In addition, it offers rebates and incentives for services like air duct sealing, air leak sealing, appliance rebates, attic insulation, washing machines and electric water heaters among others.