Summer heat often leads to warnings about loss of electricity. I would like to share some energy conservation tips with Town of Hempstead residents that will not only help to ensure that there is enough electricity to get us through the heat but will also help reduce your electric bills.
For the last decade, those of us residing in the United States have had the opportunity to buy products that have been specially labeled energy efficient. Energy Star is an international standard for energy-efficient electrical equipment. It was created by the US Environmental Protection Authority in 1992 and has since been adopted all over the world. By choosing products that are labeled with the Energy Star logo, consumers will reduce their electricity bills while at the same time helping the environment by using less energy. For example, if your refrigerator is at least 10 years old, it uses as much energy as two refrigerators that are labeled Energy Star. When purchasing new appliances, TVs, VCRs or office equipment, I encourage residents to look for the Energy Star logo to reduce costs and save energy.
Even changing the type of light bulb you use can reduce your electric costs and save energy. One 18-watt fluorescent bulb will last the same number of hours as 10 75-watt incandescent bulbs, with a life-cycle savings of more than $80 over the life of the bulb. If you prefer incandescent bulbs, try energy-saver bulbs, which are not quite as efficient as fluorescent bulbs but are more so than regular incandescent bulbs. A very simple way to improve your lighting efficiency is keeping lights and fixtures clean, which can improve efficiency as much as 20 percent.
This time of year people often depend upon air conditioners for comfort and health. There are ways in which to make the most of your air conditioner's efficiency. The proper size air conditioner will be more cost effective and will perform better. A unit that is too large for its location will cool the area too quickly, causing the air conditioner to frequently turn itself on and off. If a unit turns off too quickly it may not have been running long enough to reduce the humidity in the room thus not making it as comfortable. If the unit is too small it will have to run constantly without getting desired results. It is also helpful, when possible, to place your air conditioning on the shadiest side of your home. If the unit is exposed to direct sunlight, it has to work harder and use more energy to cool your home. Shrubbery may block vents and reduce the unit's ability to exhaust air so it is preferable not to place the unit too close to bushes. On very hot days you can save energy by closing the fresh air intake on your unit. Cooling warm outside air requires more electricity than re-cooling the air that is already circulating inside. A simple way to ensure your air-conditioner's efficiency is to check its filter at least once a month to be sure that it is clean.
In addition to air conditioners you can also reduce energy consumption of other appliances. If your refrigerator door does not shut tightly, cool air will escape and the refrigerator will have to use more energy to keep the food cool. Your freezer's efficiency is increased by keeping it full. When doing laundry you can reduce energy costs by using hot water only for heavily soiled items. Ninety percent of energy your washer uses goes toward heating water. Checking the dryer's lint filter before each load will increase efficiency because lint buildup blocks air flow and lengthens drying time. Using the microwave oven as opposed to the conventional oven also will reduce energy costs. It cooks food more quickly and uses 70-80 percent less electricity than a conventional oven.
In recent years much has been done to ensure that our appliances are energy efficient. When you are shopping for a new appliance look for the Energy Star logo and/or look for the yellow EnergyGuide label that displays the unit's energy efficiency. The higher the unit's Energy Efficiency Rating (EER), the more efficient the appliance. The EnergyGuide label provides the estimated yearly energy cost for operating the appliance. Now, when energy is a finite resource and costs are significant, it is the perfect time to start saving.