Friday, May 08, 2015

Cutting Costs & Staying Cool!

 IDT Energy Offers Simple Tips for Cutting

Summertime Energy Bills and Staying Cool

            Nothing beats the first few pleasant days of spring. The migrating birds and their songs are back, trees burst forth with fresh, new leaves and it’s finally possible to sleep comfortably with the windows open. Best of all, that energy-gobbling furnace has been shut off for the season.

            But wait! Can summer’s heat and humidity be far behind?

            Of course not! And that’s why IDT Energy offers the following tips for saving energy and money during the summer. None of this is rocket science, but seemingly small savings can really add up.

First on the list is air-conditioning. Early spring is the best time to get to know a qualified heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technician (HVAC). This is the time of year when it’s easy to schedule a system check-up. An experienced technician can check your system for refrigerant leaks and diagnose potential problems before they occur. Once the cooling season begins, HVAC people are swamped with repair calls. Don’t suffer through extreme heat and humidity waiting for an appointment. There’s one more important thing you can check on your own before calling a technician: make sure your filters are clean and that registers aren’t blocked by carpets, furniture or drapes.

An obvious way to save on cooling is to turn the thermostat up to about 78 degrees during the hours when you’re home and adjust it to 85 when you’re away. However, it’s not a good idea to turn the system off when you’re absent. Remember that every item in your home – furniture, carpeting, draperies, etc. -- absorbs heat. That means when you return to a hot house you need to cool the air along with the contents of the dwelling, which can take a long time.

On that note, a programmable thermostat is a sound investment year round. It takes just a few minutes to set up and it can eliminate the need to remember to adjust your thermostat several times a day.

Have you been meaning to replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents or LED’s? This is a great time to do it because the majority of energy consumed by incandescent bulbs generates heat, while just a small fraction actually produces light. LED bulb prices have come down a bit, but they are still much more expensive than incandescent bulbs. Before rejecting them because of initial cost, be sure to read the fine print – LED’s consume a tiny fraction of the power sucked-up by conventional bulbs and they will last for a very long time.

If you can’t stand the heat, either get out of the kitchen – or change the way you cook in the summer! Remember that microwave ovens use about two-thirds less energy than conventional stoves and ovens. A task as simple as boiling water for tea or coffee can be accomplished more quickly and cheaply by using the microwave. Finally, fire up the grill more often. Fish, meats and vegetables seem to taste better and are more fun to cook outside on a charcoal or gas grill.

We will offer additional energy and money-saving tips in coming months, but if you have a great tip to share with us and our readers, please send it to:

The best suggestions we get will appear in a future post. If we use your suggestion, we’ll send you a $5 gift card from The Home Depot.