Spring Energy Tips
Spring is here, and summer is right around the corner, which means here at DEC, we’re preparing for what the warmer weather has in store, and so should you! With the increased need for air conditioning through the summer months, you might notice a spike in your energy bill. But never fear! With the help of these energy-saving tips, both you and your bank account will feel cool and comfortable through the summer season.
Tip #1: Use a Programmable Thermostat
Early spring through summer is a busy time for most people. Whether you’re jetting off to the beach for some well-deserved R&R, or just out and about running household errands, you want to come home from your day to a cool house. That doesn’t mean you have to run your AC at 68 degrees all day long. By installing a programmable thermostat, you can schedule the temperature of your home around your daily plans, keeping it comfortable when you’re home, and programming it to run a few degrees warmer when you’re out. Some research even suggests that these devices can save you about 10% on your energy bill each year.
Tip #2: Caulk and Seal
In the spring and summer months, hot air can seep in through even the tiniest cracks and holes, especially around windows and doorways. By caulking and sealing, or in some cases weatherstripping these holes, the warm air is prevented from leaking through and heating up your house. All you need is a warm, dry day (above 45 degrees Fahrenheit) and to know your ventilation requirements, and you’re all set to start filling the gaps. Double check that you have the right type of caulk or weatherstripping upon purchase.
Tip #3: Invest in Power Strips
According to energy.gov, phantom loads, or “standby power,” occur when you have appliances or devices that are turned off, but still plugged in, causing them to continually drain electricity (a.k.a. cost you money) to the tune of about $100 per year. One way to combat this is to use power strips. By plugging as many of your devices as you can into the strip, you can turn them all off with just the push of a button, and know they are really off.
Tip #4: Fire Up the Grill
One of the best things about summer is the food. Sure, you can get a hotdog or burger year round at most places, but there’s nothing quite like eating one fresh off the grill, especially when you know it’s saving energy. Cooking outside eliminates the need to use your oven, a huge source of heat in your home. By taking dinner outside, your house will stay cool, and so will your electricity bill.
Tip #5: Pay Attention to Your “Beat the Peak”
Are you a DEC member and don’t have a “Beat the Peak” indicator yet? Put it at the top of your shopping list. Released in 2008, these handy plug-in devices let you know when energy usage/cost is at a high, indicated by a red light on the indicator. When the yellow or red light appears, cut back on your energy use, whether that means dialing the AC up a few degrees or waiting to use high-energy appliances until a later time. It helps the cooperative by reducing the need to purchase power during a period when the price of energy is high. In return, members of the Co-op receive better rates in the long run. According to the Delaware Electric Cooperative website, that’s a total savings of $24 million since the program’s inception.