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Save on your utility bill in the heat: First Coast News tags along on JEA home energy assessment

When Jonathan Andrews, senior meter specialist with JEA, does an assessment his first stop is at the thermostat.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — How is the heat impacting your wallet?

Utility bills can skyrocket during the summer especially since you may want to crank the thermostat down on extremely hot days like Thursday.

JEA does free home energy assessments that you can request to see how you can make your home more energy efficient and save money. When Jonathan Andrews, senior meter specialist with JEA, does an assessment his first stop is at the thermostat.

"Your heating and cooling is the most impactful portion of your electric bill," he said.

JEA Director of Customer Experience Brian Pippin says your air conditioning and heating system can typically be 40- to 60-percent of your utility bill, maybe more in the summer.

JEA recommends setting your thermostat in the summer to 78 degrees and five to 10 degrees warmer when you leave. If that makes you cringe, they advise you may not notice if you use a fan.

"Simply changing your behavior from 72 to 78 and introducing fans could save that $250-$300 a month utility bill, could save you $100 a month easy," Pippin said.

Because air conditioning is such a big part of your bill, it's a big part of the home walk-through with Andrews. He recommends changing your air filters regularly and getting your air conditioning unit checked regularly.

"A lot of companies will come out for a reasonable cost and service it a couple of times a year," Andrews said. "Typically before each peak season."

He says it's important to check your outside irrigation system for leaks as well as your bathroom.

"Toilet leaks are our number one place to find a water leak inside a house," Andrews said. "Water leaks can consume anywhere from a few hundred gallons a day to several thousand gallons a day, which can really add a significant cost not just to water, but also raise the sewer cost of your JEA bill."

He says if your toilet is making a sound or water is running when nobody is using it, you might have a leak.

"High-efficiency fixtures such as shower heads or sink faucets can be a great way to conserve water and lower your water cost," Andrews said.

When you go to buy the more efficient equipment, go to JEA's website to see what rebates they offer.

"Making sure your windows have blinds or curtains, possibly tint, a lot of those little things can help add up to save money on your JEA bill," Andrews said. "But your biggest consumer is typically always going to be your air conditioning system."

Pippin says to 'think technology and behavior.' They say the newer technology is usually better, but for 'behavior,' cranking up the thermostat a few notches could keep some more dollars in your pocket.

JEA also has billing and payment programs to help you during the hot months. One is called MyBudget, which levels out your utility bill for the entire year so you can budget for it.

To schedule a free energy assessment, call 904-665-6000.

Learn how to get a free irrigation system assessment here.

Check out what rebates JEA offers here.

See more summer saving tips here.

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