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      How to keep energy costs down during the summer


      COLUMBIA (WACH) â?? Temperatures are high, but that doesnâ??t mean your energy costs have to be. Here is how homeowners can take simple steps to manage their power bills.

      • Set the thermostat to 78 or higher. It also helps to raise it several degrees higher than your comfortable when you are away from home.
      • Keep blinds and windows closed during the day to keep out radiant heat.
      • Use fans to keep you cooler and turn them off when you leave the room.
      • If you have a gas water heater, turn it to â??vacation modeâ??
      • Check air filters monthly, change when dirty or according to manufacturer guidelines
      • Keep HVAC vents and interior doors open to keep air flowing freely to and from the unit.
      • Have central heating and cooling systems professionally serviced annually.
      • Set water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and inspect them for leaks.
      • Unplug appliances, lights, TVs, and computers when not in use.

      Caulk, seal, and weather-strip around all seams, cracks and opening to protect against drafts. Be sure to caulk and weather strip all exterior doors and windows to keep the conditioned air in your living space.

      â??During the summer and year-round we recommend that customers take advantage of SCE&Gâ??s free Home Energy Check-up,â?? said Ginger Greenway, manager of energy information services with SCE&G. â??Itâ??s a great way to identify the areas that customers are losing energy, and the best part is that it is specific to their home.â??

      SCE&G customers can also enroll in the companyâ??s budget billing program. This can help customers avoid fluctuations and their bill. Based on a homeâ??s usage history, SCE&G will estimate bills for the next 12 months and spread that amount into 12 equal payments. More information can be found on .