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!
October is Energy Awareness Month!
Energy Awareness Month serves as a perfect reminder of how applying these principles into our daily lives, consumers can develop habits to reduce their usage and save money on their utility bills. Saving energy is as simple as turning off the lights when you leave a room.
Lighting accounts for about 15 percent of the average home’s electric bill. Incandescent light bulbs waste about 90 percent of the electricity used to power them, with only 10 percent of the energy going to produce light, and the rest burning off as heat.
The table below shows how using compact fluorescent lights (CFL) or light-emitting diodes (LED) bulbs can be more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs and save consumers money.
Other lighting tips:
- Hold the base and not the glass to screw in the bulb.
- Read the packaging to see where each bulb should be used. Not all ENERGY STAR® qualified CFLs are designed to work in every socket.
- Use ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs where the light will be on for at least 15 minutes at a time. Frequently turning a CFL on and off shortens the bulb’s lifetime.
- Most photocells, motion sensors, and electronic timers are not designed to work with CFLs. Check with the manufacturer for compatibility.
- There’s a small amount of mercury in every CFL (.4 mg to 4mg). By comparison, mercury thermometers contain about 500 mg of mercury. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (not broken) or in use; if a CFL breaks in your home, follow the clean up recommendations of the US EPA, and properly dispose of them when broken or burned out.