Don’t sweat this summer’s electric bill. Sense is here to help.

During spring, many Americans enjoy a return to warmer weather and start to plan for summer travel, activities, and social events. We may put away coats and jackets, tune up bikes, and make multiple trips to the garden center. We may even do some extra situps or buy a new swimsuit.

Summer, especially given the rise in extreme heat in many places, also means that most of us will use electricity to keep our families comfortable and safe. A lot of electricity!

How can we plan to lower our electricity bill and save energy at the same time?

There is a lot everyone can do, and Sense can help.

Cool can be costly

  • Did you know that during the summer 1/3 of the average US energy bill is spent on AC, and if you live on the southern coast it’s closer to 1/2 of your bill? The good news is that there are many ways to keep electricity costs down and still stay cool.
  • Your home’s overall usage tells a very different story from what it told last winter.
  • It helps to know what devices your family runs, when they are in use, and how much that costs in electricity. And that helps you make smart choices.

Start with your house

Is your house ready?

  • Check that the seals around your windows are tight when you’re using the AC.
  • Check that windows can easily be opened, with screens, and use outside air when it can help cool and refresh the air throughout your house during cooler times. Good airflow also ensures healthier air.
  • Add curtains, blinds or window filters to limit direct sunlight during peak hours.
  • Clean your home’s air vents.
  • Unplug devices that are “Always on” but that aren’t in regular use.
  • Use LED lights. The energy an incandescent light bulb emits something like 327º F (90% of its energy) while an LED light emits only 107º F heat.
  • Reduce or strategically time your use of the oven, stovetop and kettles.
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Prime your AC

Is your AC primed? As with any machinery, your AC system needs regular maintenance. Keep it clean, clear, and well lubricated.

Maintenance helps keep your energy costs down:

  • Schedule annual maintenance.
  • Stay safe. Turn off the AC circuit breaker or unplug the unit before you access your AC system.
  • Clean. Clean the filters and the condenser coils.
  • Clear away any debris or anything that obstructs airflow, including furniture and drapery.
  • Keep your AC in a shady spot or at least out of direct sunlight.
  • Keep heat-producing devices, such as incandescent lights, television sets, or grills, away from the AC.

Smart choices also keep energy costs down:

  • Most of us know that keeping the AC temperature as high as possible is one way to save money, but do you know that running the fan in your AC continuously, instead of turning it on and off as temps change, can nearly double your bill over the hottest months?
  • There’s no need to cool rooms when no one is using them. If a room gets too hot, turning the thermostat down to cool faster doesn’t really speed the cooling – but it is costly!
  • If you have thermostats in individual rooms, raise the temp when a room isn’t in use. Turn off AC window units when no one is in a room or when the room has cooled enough.
  • Give your AC components a break, and they will not only last longer but they’ll cost less while they operate.

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Use fans

A fan should be the preferred cooling method for anyone who cares about the environment … but it’s not really that simple.

Fans both enhance AC and reduce overall cooling costs. After all, a fan can run 24 hours and use less than 1% of the energy an AC system uses in 15 minutes. Like your AC, though, a fan should be used strategically.

  • Fans must also be kept clean to ensure efficiency and to reduce airborne debris.
  • A ceiling fan does not cool a room, but the moving air it generates helps people in the room feel cooler. So, turn up that thermostat and add a ceiling fan to save money.
  • Window fans move hotter air out of a room, so position them to face outside. This also helps keep papers from blowing around a room.
  • Rely on shade and the position of the sun to move cool fresh air into your home, when possible, from different sides of the house.
  • And, of course, use fans at night, when the air is cool enough.
  • In a pinch, a fan can even be used as a DIY AC system if you place ice or a bowl of ice water in front of the airflow, letting the cooled air circulate.

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Let Sense help

Your Sense Home app includes several features that help you track how much electricity your home (and each device) uses. Sense will help you find inefficiencies or help you track savings. Here’s how:


The Sense Usage feature helps you understand your overall use through the month. The trending view helps you avoid surprises that might impact your next bill.

  • Click the Dashboard view in your Sense Home app for the Usage report and track your usage as it trends through the month.
  • Now, click the arrow (top right) to track usage device by device. Select a device or appliance you want to track and click on its icon, then select an increment of time (Day, Week, Month, Year or Bill).
usage dashboard


The Meter view in the Sense Home app lets you review and compare usage at different time intervals.

  • Turn a device on, wait a few seconds, then turn it off and see the change.
  • Calculate the difference.

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Time of Use

Your electricity cost may vary by season or time of day if your electricity provider uses rate zones.

  • The TOU feature lets you fully understand what a provider charges and how much energy your home is using when costs are highest – and lowest. And this knowledge, of course, is invaluable to helping you take action to reduce your usage more diligently during peak hours or threatened brownouts.
  • Set as many TOU rate zones as you need.

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