(WKBW release) – As the heat now gripping the country moves into New York and New England, National Grid is offering tips to help customers stay cool and save energy.
• Adjust the thermostat
Air conditioners cool a space at the same rate no matter what the setting. Adjusting the temperature control to 65 degrees will not help cool your home to 78 degrees any more quickly than if you leave the temperature at 78, but switching to the lower setting may be costing you more money. The lower you set your temperature on your air conditioner, the costlier it is to operate. For example, a 75 degree setting will cost about 18 percent more than a 78 degree setting. To optimize air conditioning systems set the thermostat on your air conditioner as high as comfort will permit.
• Change air conditioner filter
Check your air conditioner filter, and replace or clean it if clogged.
• Manage your water heater
Summer is the perfect time to reduce water heater temperature since the days are warmer. Set the thermostat to 120 degrees or less for normal use, and lower the setting when away from home for extended periods. For every 10-degree decrease in heater temperature, energy use may be cut by 3 to 5 percent. Reduced temperatures will also decrease the risk of scalding.
• Unplug electronics
Even though your television and other appliances are turned off, electronics with little standby lights still draw electricity. Unplug any unnecessary appliances until you return home.
• Turn off ceiling fans, close the drapes
Ceiling fans don’t actually cool your home; they only circulate air to make you feel cooler. Therefore, they are most effective when you’re home to enjoy the benefits. Turn them off when you’re not home and save energy in the process. Also, draw blinds, shades or drapes to block the sunlight during the hottest part of the day, especially on south and west-facing windows. Closing your drapes or blinds will keep the hot sun out and cause your air conditioner to run less.
• Put off heat generating activity
Cool things down by reducing the amount of heat generated in your home. Turn off lights when they are not needed, and avoid cooking, bathing or washing clothes during the hottest hours of the day.
• Use electric fans
Electric fans use very little electricity costing approximately $9 to $11 per month for continuous use and can provide relief from the heat. In the morning and evening, window fans are especially useful in moving cooler air from outdoors into a home.
• Use the fan setting on the air conditioner at night
When the air outside is cooler open a window and leave the air conditioner off. Keep windows and doors closed whenever the air conditioner is on.
• Tighten your home’s “thermal envelope”
If you have air conditioning, you can save electricity by sealing everything that separates the inside of your home from the outside. Check the caulking around windows and weather-stripping around doors. Storm doors and storm windows actually can help keep cool air in the home so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.
• Add extra ceiling or attic insulation
According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, one of the most cost-effective energy conservation measures, for both cooling and heating, is to add extra ceiling or attic insulation to an increased depth of 12 inches.