ROSEVILLE, Minn. -- If your air conditioner has been running on overtime this past week because of the extreme heat, chances are you're dreading the thought of looking at your electric bill, but experts say there are some simple changes you can make today to ease your pocket book.
Getting a home energy audit is a great way to know where money is falling through the cracks in your home.
In the Twin Cities, the Home Energy Squad offers home energy audits all year-round. The program is provided by Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy and administered by the Center for Energy and Environment.
A visit with the Home Energy Squad can last between one and three hours depending on the home and the type of visit.
Crew members help homeowners evaluate energy-saving opportunities in the home and install energy-saving products on the spot.
Experts say simple changes to save money include installing door weather stripping, LED bulbs, high-efficiency faucet aerators and showerheads, programmable or smart thermostats and more.
The price for a home energy audit starts at $70 but many cities pay for half of the cost and some visits are free, based on income-qualified households that earn below 60 percent of the area's median income.
For more information about the Home Energy Squad and how to sign up for a home energy audit, click here.
The Home Energy Squad gave WCCO some general tips for saving money on keeping your home cool during the summer months.
- Change your furnace filter
- Close your shades & windows
- Use fans instead of AC if/when the house is cool enough
- If you're buying an AC window unit, look for Energy Star-certified efficiency
- Adjust thermostat setpoints when possible
- Use a smart Wi-Fi thermostat to adjust your home's temperature while you're away
- Utilize Xcel Energy's AC Rewards program
- Enroll your new smart thermostat for even more savings
Insulation and air sealing
- Attic insulation and air sealing is the biggest factor year-round in Minnesota
- The Home Energy Squad can facilitate contractor quotes and take the guesswork out of insulation and air sealing
- A cost-free energy advisor can answer questions and guide you through each step
for more features.