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.
Summer has finally hit New York in its full blown fury, and IDT Energy is back again with some simple but effective ways to help families, businesses and consumers of all kinds save money.
Try out some of these ideas and keep cool while keeping your money in your pockets:
1. Whenever possible use natural ventilation to cool down your house, especially on cooler nights with a breeze blowing.
2. Try curtains, blinds and other window dressings to keep out the heat and keep in the cooler, air-conditioned air you paid so much money to acquire.
3. Keep the thermostat as high as is comfortable, and use a programmable thermostat whenever possible.
4. Ceiling fans are a low-cost way to keep the breeze blowing.
5. Insulate or install energy saving windows, skylights and doors.
IDT Energy wishes New Yorkers a cool, comfortable and money saving summer.
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.
The way you cook can be energy efficient or wasteful. Two people cooking the same meal can use vastly different amounts of energy doing it. By simply covering a pot when boiling water can save half the energy and time than trying to boil water in an uncovered pot.
The types of pots and pans used in the kitchen can also make a big difference. If you have an electric stove, make sure the pots you use are flat bottomed and make full contact with the eyes.
On gas stoves, keep the grease catchers under the burners clean. The shiny metal that they are made from actually reflects the heat back up into the pot and reduces cooking time.
Use the smallest pot that you can for the meal that you are making. Heating up a large pot to cook a small amount of food is a waste of energy. Also, whenever possible use a toaster oven or microwave to warm up leftovers of make small amounts of food. Microwaves are among the most energy efficient appliances around, using two thirds less power than electric ovens.
It is possible to save energy when you cook. You might consider purchasing a new type of stove which uses “induction” to heat your food. Induction creates heat more quickly by accelerating metal molecules magnetically in such materials as steel, cast iron and some stainless steel pots. When the pot is removed from the eye of the stove it cools much faster than ordinary stoves.
A stove that heats using induction transfers about 90% of its heat to the pot due to the fact that induction conforms to specific metals. An electric burner transfers about 70% of its heat, and a gas stove only about 35% to 40%. Be warned though. Induction stoves can cost double to triple or more that what a gas or electric stove costs.
Gas stove tops are very popular, but are they more energy efficient than electric stove top burners? IDT Energy is going to explore this little discussed issue with you.
Because of the fact that, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, approximately 4.5% of all household energy use is spent on cooking, Energy Star, the government’s way of measuring energy use of home appliances, does not rate or give a standard for cooking stove tops. 4.5% is just not considered enough usage to mandate stricter standards of efficiency, at least not at the moment.
Even so, are there any advantages, energy wise, of using gas over electricity for cooking? Well, it turns out that yes, there is. Gas burners are instantly hot, whereas electric burners take time to heat up and cool down. Cooks prefer gas because it is easier to control the intensity of the flame. Old fashioned gas stoves had pilot lights that were always on, wasting precious fuel, but now, with electric igniters up to 40% less gas is being used.
The main motivating factor that led New York State to initiate a phased de-regulation program was to decrease costs of electricity and natural gas by increasing competition in the marketplace. The Public Service Commission (PCS) of New York State, which is responsible for the enactment of the legislation that led to de-regulation expected to see stimulation in economic growth, lowering of prices and increased choices for consumers.
Have these goals been met?