Power outages — even a full blown black-out — is always a possibility in a heat wave like the one we are experiencing now in New York City, and the entire east coat. Here are ten FREE and easy ways to reduce your electricity use — you’ll save money on your Con Edison bill and also help us all avoid a power outage.
Unplug — Gadgets like cellphone and tablet chargers pull electricity even when not in use. Don’t leave them plugged in unless they are actively recharging a device. Ditto, unplug the coffee pot, microwave and anything else you can think of when not in use, for the same reason. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, such “vampire” and standby power totals as much as 10% of your monthly electric bill.
Sleep — Don’t just walk away from your desktop computer, put it to sleep. You’ll extend the live of the computer while you save electricity. Also, limit use of heat-making appliances like dishwashers and washing machines during the hottest part of the day, and use the ‘energy saver’ setting on the dishwasher to disable the heated drying cycle.
Close the blinds — All that sunshine, especially in rooms facing south and west, heat up the room, and make your air conditioner work harder.
Air conditioners — Each degree below 78 will increase your energy use by 3-4%. Raise the thermostat and lower your bill. Also, don’t leave your air conditioner running when nobody is home. Also, clean the filter. A clogged filter makes the air conditioner work harder. Wash it off in the bathtub, and be sure it’s completely dry before you put it back into the air conditioner.
Cold water — Take a shower instead of turning up the AC. Use the cold water cycle on the washing machine. And drink lots of cold water.
These money saving, power saving tips work anywhere, in Con Edison territory or not. Especially important, though, in New York City and Westchester, where Con Edison union employees either are on strike or locked out by management in a contract dispute, depending on which side you support.