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Turn thermostat up to keep power bills down when battling the heat
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If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following questions were submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

Do you turn your AC all the way off when you’re at work, or does that waste more because then the system has to work extra hard to cool the house?

Representatives from both Georgia Power and Jackson EMC said there is no universal answer to this question. That said, both agreed that you will likely save money if your thermostat is set to a higher temperature when you are out for the day and that turning your unit off altogether during the day will probably save you money.

Tracy Rogers, the residential marketing manager for Jackson EMC, said the industry has settled at a suggested temperature of 78 degrees during the summertime and that every degree below that will increase the operating cost of the unit by about 5 percent. If you are going to leave the house for eight hours or longer, setting the temperature higher and then lowering it when you get home will reduce the cost.

In contrast, a representative from Georgia Power said that the difference in cost is going to be specific to your house and unit. You should try different combinations and monitor your usage to find which one saves you the most money.

Jackson EMC’s website has a number of tips you can use to improve the effectiveness of your air conditioner. Avoid activities that add a lot of heat to the house, such as the oven, and save any activities that add humidity for the cooler hours. Moisture from doing laundry or running the dishwasher causes your unit to work harder to cool the house. Always make sure your air conditioner has been properly serviced to ensure it is running efficiently.

If you are the hands-on type, they suggest you add a reflective coating to your windows or roof and to paint exterior walls white. Sun-control films for your windows can reflect as much as 80 per cent of incoming sunlight. Proper insulation can also prevent your house from heating in the summer and from cooling in the winter.

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