High Bill Help

Triggers & Tips


Tips to cool your home for less

Summer’s warmer weather can also bring higher electricity bills. Here are ways to cool your home more efficiently and keep control of your bill

Track your energy usage and costs two ways

  • Enroll online to see your energy usage by the day, week or hour, and pinpoint where you use energy so you can learn ways to save.
  • Set up text or email notifications to get weekly estimated bill amounts, mid-month high-bill alerts and more.

Take advantage of cooler outdoor air

  • If it’s safe, open windows during cooler nights and  mornings (make sure open windows are safe for children), using a fan to draw cool air in.
  • When it gets to about 75 to 80 degrees out, close windows, doors and window coverings to keep cool air in — and use an indoor fan. Running a portable window fan instead of an AC unit at night can save an average home an estimated monthly savings of $32.
  • Run appliances such as ovens, stovetops, dishwashers and clothes dryers at night or in the early morning.

Use fans

  • Fans can circulate cooled air throughout the house, and bring cool morning or evening air inside.
  • Turn off fans when no one is in the room or when not trying to circulate cooled air.

Use window air conditioning efficiently

  • Make sure the unit fits the room/house size – if it’s too large, you’ll pay for cooling you don’t need.
  • Depending on the age and efficiency of the equipment, consider upgrading to an ENERGY STAR unit.
  • Keep window units running until the air cools enough outside to open the windows or use a portable fan. Window units work best when left to run for long periods of time, rather than being turned on and off. When temperatures are high, AC units work harder and longer to maintain the same inside temperature, which may impact your bill.

Have central air? Make it as efficient as possible.

  • Clean or change your furnace filter every three months, and get regular tune-ups to keep your system running efficiently.
  • When cooling the whole house be sure to keep all windows and doors closed.
  • When it’s time to get a new system, consider a high-efficiency heat pump for year-round efficiency.

Keep the house shaded

Close curtains on sun-facing windows or use awnings during the day and when running AC units. White window shades, drapes or blinds can reflect heat away from the house.

Weatherize your home

Make sure your ducts are sealed or insulated, and use weather-stripping or caulking around doors, windows, pipes, and cracks. No matter how efficient your heating and cooling system, you’ll waste energy and your home will feel drafty if it isn’t weatherized.

Air travels in and out of your house through every little gap and crack. Insulating and sealing your home’s shell minimizes those air leaks and keeps your heated (or cooled) air inside. Community Energy Project can help.

Check thermostat accuracy and setting

  • Set central air thermostats to 75 degrees, rather than 70 degrees. This five degree difference can result in an estimated monthly savings of about $13.
  • Avoid putting lamps or TVs that emit heat near the thermostat.
  • Make sure the thermostat is accurate. Walk through the house with an instant-read cooking thermometer to see if the air temperature matches the setting.
  • Upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat can help save costs season after season.

Additional suggestions

  • Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and turn off zonal heat at the breaker panel instead of at the thermostat.
  • Avoid cooking with a stove or conventional oven; instead use a microwave or barbecue outdoors.
  • Limit use of incandescent lighting and consider switching to cooler LEDs. They last longer and use up to 85% less energy.

Watch out for other summer triggers

Summer guests or additional people home during the day can increase energy use for hot water, cooking and cooling. New appliances or air conditioning units, big screen TVs, pools, hot tubs and fountains can also increase costs from the previous year.

Want more tips? We’ve got ‘em: See No-cost & Low-cost Tips.

Use Energy Tracker to track your use and bill. Use Energy Tracker to track your use and bill

Compare energy use and get mobile bill alerts to help manage costs.

Having trouble paying your bill? Having trouble paying your bill?

Call us to make arrangements: 503-228-6322 or 800-542-8818.

Weatherization Assistance Weatherization Assistance

Find help covering the cost if you meet income guidelines.