Beat the Heat with Energy Saving Tips

Laura Oakleaf

As we are in the midst of the hot summer season, make sure that you are doing all you can to keep your home comfortable and cool, while also saving yourself money and energy.

Set your thermostat to higher temperature while you are away from your home. Use a programmable thermostat to set back the temperature when you are gone from your home using programmed settings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs by turning a thermostat back 7˚-10˚F for eight hours a day from the typical setting used. Also, it’s important to note that immediately setting the temperature cooler than normal when you return home does not cool your home any faster.

If you would like even more control and convenience with your energy use, a smart thermostat may be right for you. Smart thermostats are devices that connect to Wi-Fi and allow remote control of heating and air conditioning settings in homes through smart phones, tablets and computers. Smart thermostats have been found to reduce energy use for home heating and cooling by an average of 8-15 percent, according to ACEEE 2015. The Environmental Law & Policy Center has said that this translates to $50-$130 in annual savings for the average Illinois customer. Through December 31, 2018, there are a multitude of different smart thermostats that qualify for rebates for customers that meet the eligibility requirements. Please review ComEd’s website for eligibility requirements. Visit the Environmental Law & Policy Center’s website to learn more.
  • It’s time for a check-in with your air conditioner. Heating and cooling accounts for about 48 percent of the energy use in a typical U.S. home. Hire an HVAC professional to service the system and perform scheduled maintenance. Make sure to check and clean the air conditioner evaporator coil. Vacuum your registers to get rid of dust buildup.

  • Use fans appropriately. Using ceiling fans allows you to raise your thermostat four degrees without losing any comfort. Double-check your ceiling fans are running counter-clockwise to best circulate cool air -- it’s a way to get more out of your air conditioner. Also, turn off all fans when you leave a room—fans cool people, not rooms. Use the bathroom fan for up to 20 minutes after a shower or bath as it removes the heat and humidity from your home, which improves comfort.
  • Use your energy smarter with new pricing programs. ComEd is building a smart grid and smart meters have been installed at residences throughout Cook County. This new technology can help you save money by enabling you to monitor and control your energy use. There are new programs available to you now that a smart meter has been installed at your home.
    • ComEd Peak Time Savings: Earn a credit on your bill when you choose to reduce or delay heavy energy usage on certain hottest days during peak times. The credit is $1 for every kilowatt-hour (kwh) of electricity you save. There is no cost to enroll and no penalty if you don’t participate once enrolled, so sign up to participate this summer. Residents with other suppliers can still take advantage of the Peak Time Savings program. For more details, call (844) 852-0347 or visit
  • Rid your home of vampire energy. Your electronics, such as a phone charger, toaster or microwave, still “suck” energy when they are plugged into the outlet, even if they aren’t being used. You can save up to $100 a year by plugging electronic devices into a power strip and turning it off when it’s not in use. Or, even better, use a smart power strip, which automatically cuts energy to appliances when not in use. You can get a free smart power strip with a free home energy assessment from ComEd, Nicor Gas or Peoples Gas. Sign up for your free energy assessment on the ComEd, Nicor Gas or Peoples Gas websites.

Want to learn more about how you can save energy and money in your home all year round? Visit our website or contact Sarah Edwards at for more information on smart meter and energy efficiency programs.