Higher summer temperatures generally lead to higher electric bills. But with a few easy steps, you can turn down the heat on your summer bills while making your home more comfortable.

“Customers often don’t realize that small changes can make a difference in their electric bill,” said Edith Garcia, Residential Program Manager at Tucson Electric Power. “You don’t have to invest a lot of money to improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort.”

Here are five tips to tame your bill:

Tip 1: Get a free TEP Virtual Home Assessment

Heating and cooling account for the largest share of energy use in a typical home. If your climate control systems aren’t operating efficiently, you’re wasting energy and money and sacrificing comfort.

With a free Virtual Home Assessment, TEP will help you determine if your home’s heating and cooling systems are operating efficiently. You’ll receive a customized report with energy-savings recommendations as well as information about available rebates to help cover heating and cooling related home improvements.

Tip 2: Insulate your home

Sealing leaks and adding insulation can reduce your heating and cooling costs and make your home more comfortable. Caulking and weatherstripping around doors and windows is an inexpensive and highly effective way to prevent drafts and air leaks.

Step 3: Switch to LED bulbs

Cut energy costs by replacing incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR-related LED bulbs. Not only do they use 90 percent less energy than traditional bulbs, but they also emit 90 percent less heat, which means your home’s cooling system doesn’t have to work as hard to keep you comfortable.

TEP offers several free and low-cost LED bulbs on the TEP Marketplace.

Step 4: Plant shade trees

Planting shade trees around your home – especially on the south and west sides – helps reduce solar heat gain in the summer and serves as a wind break when it’s colder. Deciduous trees with high, spreading leaves and branches provide maximum roof shading in the summer. Trees or shrubs with foliage lower to the ground are more effective on the west side of the home to provide shade from the late afternoon sun.

Each fall, the TEP Trees for You program offers customers a wide selection of shade trees at discounted prices. Customers pick up the trees at designated nurseries throughout Pima Country. The program reopens Sept. 4. Learn more at the TEP Trees for You website.

Step 5: Set it and forget it

Invest in a smart thermostat that will learn your temperature preferences and adjust to fit your schedule. If used properly, smart thermostats can reduce energy costs up to 20 percent each year.

Better yet, TEP is offering some smart thermostat models on the TEP Marketplace free of charge, with others at reduced prices for TEP customers. Visit the website for more information.

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