Florida Power & Light suggests seven ways to cut your water and electric bills during the dog days of summer when high usage often reaches records.
It is especially needed now: The Miami-Fort Lauderdale area continues to outpace the rest of the nation in annual cost of living jumps -- 4 percent vs. 3.6 percent, according to a Consumer Price Index report issued earlier this month from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Cutting your monthly power and water bill can help you stretch your budget as the price of food, gas and other necessities rise. Even modest changes can save 10 to 15 percent on your FPL bill:
Move up your a/c thermostat one degree to save about 5 percent on your monthly cooling costs. Remember running the a/c accounts for more than half of summer utility bills.
Dry clothes outside instead of using a dryer to shave off about 5 percent of your electric bill. But if you have to use a dryer, then keep the lint trap clean to save 1 to 2 percent of your monthly FPL bill.
Turn off a ceiling fan when not in a room to save up to $7 a month.
Reduce your shower time to save as much as $5 a month: Showers account for almost a third of household water usage. Shorter showers will also cut down on the electricity needed to heat the shower's hot water.
Lower your water heater temperature from 140 to 120 degrees to save about $30 a year.
Use cold water to wash clothes and save $3 a month.
To cut costs more, unplug electronics and appliances not in use, replace old bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs and shut off lights when not in a room.
Consumers can also take a free online home energy survey at www.fpl.com/ohes to find energy wasters and see where they can save more money.