Many air conditioners across Iowa are running for the first time today and here's some ways to keep costs down when using it is an absolute necessity.

Temperatures across Eastern Iowa are expected to reach the lower 90's today, and these tips will help keep your house cool and your energy bill in check:

  1. Check to see if your home has adequate insulation and not just in the attic. A lack of insulation can have a huge impact on your bill.
  2. Have your air conditioner checked once a year. A well-maintained unit runs more efficiently. Also, be sure your outdoor condenser unit has room to "breathe." Shrubs, grass, or bushes can hinder its ability to run efficiently.
  3. Keep your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher during the summer. Install a programmable thermostat to allow you to have your house warmer while you're away, or sleeping.
  4. Close drapes, shades, and blinds on days that are especially sunny and hot.
  5. Double-check your registers to make sure they're not blocked, and vacuum them regularly.
  6. Use ceiling fans or other fans to keep the air moving and help you feel cooler.
  7. Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom, to get excess humidity out of your home. However, be sure to turn them off after a short time.
  8. Try to use items like your clothes dryer and oven early in the morning or late in the evening.
  9. Unplug items that aren't regularly used. Four to seven percent of your electric bill goes to items you seldom use, while they sit idle.
  10. Install ENERGY STAR lighting and appliances. Changing light bulbs can result in energy savings of 75 percent AND they last up to 25 times longer than old incandescent bulbs.

Thankfully, today's hot temperatures aren't expect to continue for long but when the heat of summer is turned on for an extended period of time, you'll be ready with these tips.

[via MidAmerican Energy]

Also, be sure to change the filter inside your home.