When the cold air is blowing outside it is a tough job to keep the warm air in and the cold air out. But to the extent that homeowners can achieve this goal is the extent to which they can save energy heating their homes during the cold winter months.
The first step in preventing leakage of warm air out and cold air in is to detect the places where the leakage is occurring. Check places like:
Door and window frames
Electrical and gas service entrances
Cable TV and phone lines
Outdoor water faucets
Dryer vents which pass through walls
Bricks, siding and stucco
Vents and fans
Once the leaks are spotted, they can be sealed with caulking and weatherstripping. IDT Energy encourages consumers of energy to prevent leakage and save money.
Between 14 and 25 percent of all the energy used at home goes to heating water. Therefore finding ways to heat water more efficiently can save families lots of money during the course of the year.
IDT Energy suggests several methods which can be incorporated into a normal household which have the potential of saving lots of energy and money:
Find ways to decrease household use of hot water: begin by fixing leaky faucets, installing low-flow fixtures and purchasing dishwashers and washing machines which are energy efficient.
By installing a timer you can take advantage of only heating your water during the off-peak hours as well as turning off the water heater at night when it is not needed.
An interesting technology which can help save a lot of energy is a drain-water recovery system. Since about 80-90% of the energy used to heat water at home ends up just going down the drain, it is logical to try and recover some of that energy. The system works by pre-heating the cold water going into to water heater or other fixtures using the heat from discarded water.
IDT Energy is interested in helping consumers to save energy, and thus save money, on their household energy bills.
It is no secret that there are many good reasons to conserve on the resources which we use. IDT Energy acknowledges that for many people saving money on their monthly expenses has become a priority, and a great place to begin that savings campaign is right inside our own homes.
Remember to turn them off whenever you step out of the room.
Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, CFLs, especially in the most frequently used lamps.
Use natural light whenever possible.
Turn the thermostat down on the hot water heater. There is no need to get scalded when you open the hot water faucet, and lowering the thermostat also makes taking a bath safer, especially if you have children in the house.
Buy low-flow shower heads and aerators for your sinks.
Turn off the water when soaping up your dishes. Wash with hot water, but rinse in cold water, whenever possible.
Fill the dishwasher before using. Running a half-empty dishwasher wastes a lot of water.
Raise the thermostat to a comfortable coolness. There is no reason to have to wear a sweater inside your house on a hot summer day.
Turn off the air conditioner when not at home, or at night when you are asleep.
Purchase a programmable thermostat which will automatically turn off the ac after you leave the house, at night while you are asleep, and turn on the ac a few minutes before you get home. In this way you will get maximum comfort along with maximum energy savings.
Understanding that Electricity is a Secondary Energy Source
There are many misunderstandings about what electricity is, and IDT Energy wants consumers to know exactly what makes electricity so special. Simply put, electricity is the flow of electrical power, or charge. Over the past one hundred years electricity has come to be one of our most often used forms of energy.
Electricity is a part of nature, but it is different than some of the other forms of energy we use. Since electricity must be created through the conversion of other forms of energy such as coal, solar or nuclear, it is referred to as secondary energy. While primary energy sources can be either renewable, such as solar, or non-renewable, such as coal, this designation does not apply to electricity. It is neither renewable or on non-renewable.
There is no question that over the past one hundred of so years the use of electricity has dramatically changed the way we live. It is easy to name some major developments in our lives which could not have happened without electricity. Safe, easy indoor lighting; telephones; efficient, easy to use refrigerators; washers and dryers, to name just a very tiny few of the remarkable appliances and tools electricity has allowed mankind to develop.
Electricity has become a fundamental fact of life since the invention of the electric light bulb by Thomas Alva Edison over 100 years ago. It is such an integral part of life that most people probably give it little thought during their busy days, but it is important to know and understand where our electricity, which we are so dependent upon, comes from.
There are many possible sources for the production of electricity. Electric power plants can produce electricity using coal, oil, or nuclear fuel. They can also be powered with renewable sources like energy from wind, solar panels, or hydroelectric dams.
In the US, as of 2010, the vast majority of electricity was produced using fossil fuels, about 70%, with about 24% from natural gas and 45% from coal. Nuclear power contributes about 19% while 6% comes from hydroelectric power sources. Wind produces about 2% of the country’s electricity, and biomass, solar and other renewable sources are negligible.
In New York State, where IDT Energy brings to consumers electricity and natural gas, the percentages are as follows as of 2008 statistics:
Coal produces about 14% or New York’s electricity, while natural gas generates about 28%, a significant amount less than the amount of fossil fuels used to produce electricity in the US as a whole. New York makes up the difference by getting more of its electricity form nuclear and especially hydroelectric sources, with about 31% from nuclear power and 18% from hydroelectric dams. Just as in the rest of the country renewable sources of electricity make up a tiny percentage of the total generation of electricity with about 2% from biomass and less than 1% coming from wind and solar at almost zero.
Utilities supplying electricity and gas power to New Yorkers and residents of several other states were deregulated about a decade ago. The intent of the legislative bodies that chose to deregulate the energy markets was so that competition would be fostered among the suppliers, improving service and prices for customers.
In order to understand deregulation it is important to know that energy service has two components, the supply of the energy and its delivery. Deregulation gave consumers the power to choose their energy supplier, while the delivery of the energy remained within the purview of the established and regulated utilities. This means that today, for many New Yorkers, although Con Edison is still the company that delivers their power, the supplier of energy is determined by the consumer.
IDT Energy is a qualified supplier of energy to the people of New York, and in partnership with local utility companies, which in some cases, but not all, is Con Ed, can supply residents with the energy they need at competitive prices and excellent service.
Although the local utility still delivers the electricity and gas to its customers, consumers have the right to pick the supplier which meets their needs best, helping to drive down prices and improve quality of service. There is no need to do anything other than pick up the phone to make the switch to IDT Energy, or any other supplier of electricity and gas which services your area.
Where your power comes from needn’t be such a mystery. Now that there is the possibility in New York for consumers to choose their power supply company, IDT Energy is striving to keep the public informed about all the issues surrounding electricity, natural gas and their uses. At IDT Energy we believe this knowledge should extend to how these power sources are produced.
In the case of electricity there are many methods of production. Electricity can be made at hydroelectric power stations, by solar or wind energy, by burning fossil fuels, and other methods. In most cases, with the notable exception of solar power, the primary energy source must somehow cause a generator to rotate, where mechanical energy is turned into electrical energy. At a hydroelectric plant the rushing water turns the generator using the force of gravity which pulls the water down, causing the turbine to rotate and the generator to turn. Other power plants use the same principles but using different sources of energy.
In order to arrive at the world we live in today, which is powered to a great extent by electricity, it took many people who toiled in the pursuit of knowledge and the discovery of ways to use that knowledge to the benefit of mankind.
Benjamin Franklin, with his famous kite and key experiment, first realized that lightning was electricity. Thomas Edison worked for years perfecting the first long-lasting incandescent light bulb. Nikola Tesla worked tirelessly to discover ways to generate, transmit and use alternating (AC) current over long distances.
Since those days of invention, discovery and progress we now take for granted the great, pioneering work or these inventors and scientists. Today, companies like IDT Energy help people to get the most out of these great achievements of the past by delivering the amazing source of energy, electricity, to our doorsteps today.