Hotter temperatures mean higher bills: How you can save money

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — Even if you are loving the steamy hotter temperatures, your wallet may not be.

When the weather gets hotter, it’s easy to turn on that air conditioner and cool down.

“The lowest bills are in the shoulder months which is late spring which I’m not really sure we had,” said Mike Herro, Xcel Energy’s community service manager.

That cool breeze might make a burning hole in your wallet.

“We are anticipating about a 4 to 5 percent increase in the bills overall,” Herro said.

Producing electricity isn’t cheap, Herro said.

“Everything has been rising, including fuel, natural gas, and other things to produce electricity, so that’s another four percent,” he said.

People can expect their energy bills to increase by $5 to $10. Bills will continue to rise as people use their air conditioners, but there are ways to lower those costs.

“Really you’d have to look at changing your units out because their efficiency is kind of what it is,” said Carson Schneider, a comfort specialist at Schneider Heating and Air Conditioning in Onalaska.

Air conditioners usually last 18 to 20 years, Schneider said units older than that may be the reason your bills increase.

“It might just be time to get a service tech to look at it, try to clean it up or get a salesman out there to replace that unit with a more efficient one,” Schneider said.

There are several things you can do before calling a professional.

“Making sure that that filter is clean. If your thermostat still has batteries, making sure that those batteries are working correctly, and then your breaker panel. If your breaker panel was turned off for whatever reason, turning that on for your air coordinator so that it’s receiving high voltage,” Schneider said.

If you find yourself constantly repairing an old air conditioner, it will be more cost efficient to invest in a new one.

“You are going to get a new, more efficient unit and that’ll save you money on your energy bills going forward,” Schneider said.

As temperatures continue to increase, it’s better to get your air conditioning unit inspected earlier rather than later and enjoy that cool air without worrying about the costs.

“We had to take care of 76 service calls,” Schneider said. “That’ll most likely get into the triple digits today.”

Residents can also save money by pulling down the shades and setting the temperature higher inside your home.

Xcel Energy says that for every one degree you increase your thermostat, that is 1% saved on your bill.