By Ian Schwartz

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — With a Flex Alert continuing through Tuesday, people are encouraged to reduce energy usage, especially in late afternoons.

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People, like Jeff Harris, are trying to keep cool without spending a lot of money.

“I put in dual-paned windows throughout the house, and we have sun cloth on the west- and south-facing windows throughout the house.”

Jef Harris says that’s a cheap and easy way to keep the scorching sun out of his Sacramento home. He’s also set his thermostat to 78 degrees.

“That is plenty comfortable when it’s 106 outside.”

SMUD says 78 is a great starting point to saving dollars during this heat wave.

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“For every degree you are willing to go up, that’s a 5 to 10 percent saving on the air conditioner portion of your bill.”

How much money is that?

If you raised your thermostat four degrees, that would save about $5 to $10 a month on a $100 energy bill where heating and cooling account for half of it.

SMUD says every bit counts during these toasty times, even when it comes to doing something as simple as cooking.

“You might want to refrain from using the stove top range for example. Make a cool meal, use a microwave oven. Microwaves are incredible energy-efficient devices in how much electricity they use.”

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Whatever temperature you can bear at home, the simplest way to save is to turn up your thermostat when you’re not home.