A Gulf Power employee conducts a FREE Energy Check up on a customer’s home for energy efficiency.

This time of year, the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” But while spring has been relatively mild so far, May also ushers in warmer temperatures as customers across Northwest Florida prepare for the onset of the hot summer months.

Before summer hits with expected above-average temperatures predicted by the National Weather Service, Gulf Power customers can get a FREE energy checkup for the home to help stay cool and keep energy bills in check.

“Even the smallest air leak in your home can cause your air conditioning system to run more than it should, wasting energy,” said Rick DelaHaya, Gulf Power spokesperson.  “Gulf Power wants to help customers keep energy bills as low as possible, which is why we offer a FREE in-home energy checkup. It’s an easy way to find the energy wasters in the home and show customers how to make their home more energy efficient.”

Customers can request an in-home Energy Checkup by visiting Gulf Power’s website or calling 1-877-655-4001. Once scheduled, a professionally-trained member of Gulf Power’s team will walk through and inspect the home with the customer, offering recommendations for low-cost or no-cost measures to improve the home’s efficiency.

The end goal, said DelaHaya, is for customers to be able to save money, be more comfortable and conserve energy.

“This is a good time to get an energy checkup on your home before the hot summer months,” added DelaHaya. “Our team can visually inspect windows and doors, caulking, weather stripping, insulation levels, water heaters, and heating and cooling systems. It takes about an hour and they can review the results and recommend steps the homeowner can take to make their home more energy efficient.”

Other tips leading into the summer months include:

Set your thermostat and leave it

During the summer, your air conditioner is the biggest consumer of energy. For many homes, it accounts for more than half of the summer energy bill. Making small changes to the way you use your thermostat can go a long way in saving energy.

  • For every degree below 78 degrees, you’ll use 10 percent more energy to cool your residence. Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher.
  • Set the thermostat even higher when at work or away from home for long periods of time, but no more than five degrees higher.
  • Check out Gulf Power’s Energy Select With Energy Select, you receive a free programmable thermostat that can be controlled with your mobile device.
  • Change or clean your air conditioner filter monthly. Dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce efficiency. Also, clear away objects that may be blocking indoor AC vents such as chairs, furniture or pillows.
  • Use your ceiling fan for more comfort. Remember to run the fans counter-clockwise during the summer months. Only turn them on when you’re in the room. Ceiling fans only cool people, not rooms.
  • Let your air conditioner breathe. Clear outside AC units of weeds, plants or brush so they can run more efficiently.
  • Avoid placing lamps or television sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat can sense heat from these appliances.
  • Speaking of thermostats, turn down the temperature of your water heater to at least 120 degrees. You’ll not only save energy, you can avoid scalding temperatures.
  • Keep the blinds closed on the sunny side of your home during the day and open at night. This is a no-cost way to keep your home a little cooler.
  • Give your AC a tune-up. Running an inefficient AC system can result in high monthly bills. Check out Gulf Power’s HVAC efficiency program for savings on a AC tune-up.

Visit Gulf Power’s website for more energy-saving tips.