It is no doubt heating up outside. Unfortunately, that may mean your electric bill is heating up too.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

A Google search on how to save money on your electric bill introduces you to a device, called a watt meter. It costs around $20 at the hardware store, but it’s guaranteed to help you save.

“We have a watt meter,” said Rob Williams, Sr. Energy Advisor with Duke Energy.

We contacted Duke Energy and had them meet up with 10News to show us exactly how the device works.

“What it does is analyzes the electrical costs for appliances,” Williams said. “We can plug in an appliance and it tells us the projected monthly cost.”

So that’s what we did. First, we plugged in the cell phone.

“Average monthly cost is about 17 cents for the cell phone,” Williams said.

When we plugged in a tablet and toaster they were both around 20 cents.

But Williams says add multiple appliances together and that quickly adds up. It compounds when we move onto larger appliances like the TV.

“Roughly cost about $8 a month. TV is higher,” says Williams. “The mini strip is about $2 and you can see it’s rising.”

And you can see how much the cost to your bill is heating up.

Take the five appliances we tested and that adds up to roughly $10 per month. During the span of a year, that’s about $120.

“You’re being charged for appliances you are not even using. It’s called Phantom Power,” Williams said. “It would definitely be smart to unplug and that’s something customer has to get used to when they are not using them.”

“There’s a variety of things you can do to save money on your bill,” said Duke Energy spokesperson Ann Marie Varga.

Small efforts to save energy can lead to big savings when temperatures rise during the summer months. Here’s 10 low-cost to no-cost energy-efficiency tips to save on your energy bill:

  • Set your AC to the highest comfortable setting. Every degree increase saves you about 5 percent in cooling costs. Energy Star recommends a minimum set point of 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Change or clean your air filters monthly. A dirty air filter can make a cooling system work harder, which uses more energy.
  • Inspect and service your HVAC. Make sure your HVAC system is ready to keep you cool by having it checked by a qualified heating and air conditioning contractor.
  • Don't cool an empty house. If you'll be out and about, program your thermostat to work around your schedule.
  • Close the blinds. Shutting drapes and shades during the hottest part of the day can keep the sun's rays from heating your house.
  • Grill outdoors. Cooking in the oven and on the stovetop creates a lot of indoor heat. Help save energy by firing up the grill outdoors or prepare meals that don't require cooking.
  • Use fans in occupied rooms. They circulate air to supplement air conditioning. Make sure they are set to operate in a counterclockwise direction.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights. And, use energy-efficient light bulbs that use less electricity and emit less heat.
  • Seal air leaks with caulking and weather stripping. And keep the door closed as much as you can to keep the cool air inside.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient lighting options. LEDs use up to 90% less energy than traditional bulbs and last at least 15 times longer than traditional bulbs.

Duke Energy Florida and TECO both offer free Home Energy Checks to help customers identify how they can reduce their electric use and save money. Through this service, which can be performed online, over the phone or in person, the company’s energy advisors provide energy-saving recommendations and determine customers’ eligibility for company rebates toward energy-efficient improvements.

Following the home energy check, customers in single-family homes receive a free energy efficiency kit.

Click here for more information on Duke Energy’s home energy check visit.

Click here for information on TECO’s home energy check visit.