Extended heat, humidity also can bring severe storms
The heat is on across upstate New York, as forecasters call for an extended run of high temperatures and humidity throughout the region. With that, home energy usage in most households also will rise. As such, National Grid encourages customers to use these simple summer tips to limit energy consumption and save on bills.
•Draw blinds, shades, drapes - Close window dressings to block the solar gain, especially with older windows, during the hottest part of the day and on south and west-facing windows.
•Use programmable thermostats - Use of programmable thermostats optimizes air-conditioning systems, helping to boost energy savings. National Grid offers a $25 rebate for each seven-day programmable thermostat that you install (maximum two per household).
•Control your home's temperature remotely - Whether you're on vacation or on the go, a Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat allows you to control your home's temperature remotely from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. These thermostats allow you to preset temperatures and could help to lower your energy bill by up to $180 a year. National Grid offers a $75 rebate to help make this energy-saving equipment more affordable for you.
•Change air conditioner settings and filter - The lower you set your temperature on your air conditioner, the more costly it is to operate. For example, a 75-degree setting will cost about 18 percent more than a 78-degree setting. Set the thermostat on your air conditioner as high as comfort will permit. In addition, check your air conditioner filter and replace or clean it if it is clogged.
•Home? Ceiling fans on. Away? Ceilings fans off. - Unlike an air conditioner, 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.
•Unplug electronics - Even though your electronics, like televisions and computers, are turned off, they may still draw electricity. Unplug any unnecessary electronics and chargers until you need them. In addition, using an advanced power strip on your entertainment system reduces phantom load energy use and can save you up to $60 annually.
•Check refrigerator and freezer temps - The ideal refrigerator temperature is between 37 and 40 degrees. For the freezer, the ideal reading is 5 degrees. It is also important to keep your refrigerator and freezer full, so that they do not have to work as hard to stay cold. This can drastically lower the amount of energy that they'd ordinarily need to function properly.
•Consider replacing or recycling older-model working refrigerators, especially if older than 10 years - Older-model refrigerators often can use more than four times the energy of newer models and cost up to $150 a year to run. Consider replacing or recycling older-model units to save energy, money, and to help keep these appliances out of landfills.
National Grid also offers many programs and incentives to help customers take control of their energy use and save on monthly bills. These include incentives for energy-efficient equipment purchases and improvements from programmable thermostats to boilers, furnaces and hot water heaters. Also, property owners or building managers of apartments/condos with five to 50 units may qualify for comprehensive energy-efficiency services based on the results of a free energy assessment performed by a qualified energy specialist.
For more energy saving tips or to learn more about National Grid's energy efficiency programs click HERE.
Warm and humid weather also can bring unexpected and severe storms. National Grid urges customers to be prepared in the event a storm impacts energy service, and start by keeping the outage reporting phone number handy: 1-800-867-5222. The company provides extensive storm and outage information HERE.
Safety is always the first priority, so, in the event of a storm, customers are reminded to report outages immediately, unplug potentially sensitive electronic equipment, and stay far away from any downed lines that may occur as a result of wind or lightning damage.