Where Does Your State Rate?
Americans will be building up quite a sweat this month, so get ready to turn up those air conditioners!
August tends to be the hottest month of the year in the contiguous U.S., and as a result it has the highest energy consumption. With the temperatures rising, consumers can expect the heat to make a dent in not only their energy supply but also their wallets.
In the United States, 7.1 percent of the average consumer’s total income is spent on energy costs. Energy costs such as fuel, natural gas and electricity. We found the difference in energy costs among states, specifically the cost of electricity, very eye-opening. To see the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s chart on the Average Retail Price of Electricity click here.
Lower prices per kilowatt hour (kWh) don’t always equate with lower costs, as consumption is a key determinant in the total amount of an electric bill. In places with scorching summer weather but cheaper electricity like Southern Louisiana, households might end up with higher out-of-pocket costs than those in energy-expensive Northern California, where the temperate climate keeps heating and cooling units idle most of the year.
We wanted to share with consumers a chart that was compiled by WalletHub. This chart has identified the Most & Least Energy-Expensive States. They used six key metrics to rank the states according to their tendency to produce the highest or lowest monthly energy bills. As temperatures rise, so do energy costs. To help consumers with the most costly energy bills budget effectively, WalletHub also examined the various factors – from the price and consumption of residential electricity to the price of fuel at the pump and number of miles driven – that affect energy costs in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
To calculate the average monthly energy bill in each state, WalletHub used the following equation:
(Average Monthly Consumption of Electricity x Average Retail Price of Electricity) + (Average Monthly Consumption of Natural Gas x Average Natural Gas Residential Prices) + [Average Fuel Price * (Average Monthly Vehicle Miles Traveled / Average Car Consumption / Number of Drivers)] = Average Monthly Energy Bill Consumers Pay in Each State
Source: Data used to create these rankings is courtesy of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
With the start of summer heat, now is the time to take control of your electric bill by implementing energy conservation measures. The rise in temperatures and humidity means we also increase our energy use as we turn on our air conditioners and fans. Before the real summer heat hits, take a look around the house and make simple changes to conserve energy.
Below are some simple ways to save energy and money this summer:
- Set your air conditioner thermostat as high as comfortable – we recommend 78ºF or higher when you’re at home, and 85ºF when you’re gone. Keep inside air vents clear from furniture and other objects.Install a programmable thermostat. Accidentally leaving the air conditioner on while you are out for the day becomes a thing of the past.
- Have your central air conditioner tuned up and clean or replace filters monthly for more efficient operation. Keep outside air conditioner unit clear. Air must be able to circulate freely around your air conditioner’s outside unit. Keep the area around it clear of weeds and debris. Never build or put anything near the unit that would interfere with the air circulation. If air can’t circulate freely around your outside unit, you’ll have higher bills and more service calls.
- Minimize indoor heat: run the dryer and dishwasher at night on hot days and let your dishes air dry. Use a microwave, toaster oven or outdoor grill instead of the oven. It’s best to avoid the use of major appliances between 2 and 8 p.m.
- Set your water heater to 120ºF.
- Keep the blinds and windows closed during the day and open at night. This is a no-cost way to keep your home a little cooler.
- Turn off unnecessary lights. Much of the energy from a light bulb is heat. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.
- Window, ceiling and whole-house fans are also low-cost ways to keep your home a little cooler.
- Wash clothes in cold water and clean the lint filter in the dryer after every use.
- Eliminate, or deactivate, extra freezers or refrigerators if you can, especially if they spend the summer outdoors or in a garage. Or move the spare refrigerator out of the garage to an insulated basement or spare room. You’ll save money because the unit won’t have to work as hard to keep food cold.
- Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. Plug home electronics, such as TVs, DVD players and computers into power strips and turn off the power strips when the equipment is not in use.
- If you have a pool: consider slowly reducing pool filtration time by 30 minute increments daily. Keep on reducing the time as long as the water appears clean. You may find you only need to run your pool filter six hours a day. Install a timer to control the length of time that the pool pump cycles on.
- Shade your home and windows. Shading the outside of your home should be your first line of defense against summertime heat. Careful planting of trees, shrubs, vines and groundcover to shade your home and windows from the sun can really reduce your cooling costs. For immediate results, install patio covers, awnings, and solar screens to shade your windows. Energy savings can be up to 30 percent of cooling costs.
Happy Earth Day!
Earth Day always falls on April 22.
On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, and companionship with nature!
Walk through the woods in search of emerging wildflowers and green moss.
Go outside, no matter what the weather!
A spark of static electricity can measure up to six thousand (6,000) volts!
The most common static electric spark people experience are the small ones that can jump from your finger to some metal object, giving you a slight shock. Such sparks really don’t cause an electric shock, such as from AC or CD electricity. Instead, they simply shock or startle you. The pain felt is from the heat caused by the electrons jumping the air gap. The noise made from such a spark is a snapping sound, cause by the rapid heating of the air.
The amount of voltage required for a 2 millimeter spark from your finger to the doorknob is about 6000 volts. Since the current is very low, there is no real danger from such a high voltage. Although the spark cannot harm you, there is a danger of such a spark if it occurs when you are near gasoline, such as in a filling station, so always be aware when filling your tank.
To help take the shock out of winter, take a look at these unique humidity ideas:
LED lights are the way to go this holiday season!
The Department of Energy has estimated that Christmas lights use as much electricity as half a million homes do in an average month. That’s a ton of power. And it’s expensive. The DOE also says that U.S. households could save a total of $410 million or so in electricity if everyone switched to LEDs.
It’s time to get the outdoor holiday decorations plan ready. We all have existing decorations that we use year to year, but a great way to build up your collection and change over to all energy-saving LED decorations is to add or change out one to two new decorations every year. This way it’s affordable and looks beautiful and slightly different every year!