Bethlehem Press

Monday, October 23, 2017

A cool but cost-effective summer

Monday, July 3, 2017 by Carol Obando-Derstine Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

It’s a simple equation: The less you spend on energy during the heat of summer, the more you have to spend on lemonade, pool passes, ice cream, and road trips to the beach.

So how do you make that happen?

We’re glad to share the following tips for a cool but cost-effective summer. (Many of these will work for businesses too.)

If you have air conditioning, don’t set it lower than normal when you first turn it on. That won’t cool your home or business any faster, and it could cost you more.

Make sure nothing is blocking your ventilation ducts, so you get all the cool air you’re paying for. And use a programmable thermostat that’s set to cool things down when people are at your home or business – not when they aren’t.

Make sure ceiling fans are set to turn counterclockwise (as you are looking up at them), which will push a cool flow of air downward. Also, make sure to turn off fans – ceiling or floor – when you leave a room, because fans cool people, not rooms.

In the kitchen, use your microwave to cook. Make cool seasonal dishes like salads that require little or no cooking. Or, get out of the house entirely and fire up the grill. All these options will save energy and keep your kitchen cool, compared to using the oven.

Plug devices like printers, DVD players and computers into smart power strips. These devices continue to use electricity even when they’re not actively operating. A smart power strip shuts down the power at those times, saving you money.

Switch to long-lasting, efficient LED bulbs that use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs. (PPL offers discounts on LED bulbs at participating retailers – no coupon is needed. Visit pplelectric.com/savings for a list of retailers.)

Also, don’t forget you can shop for your energy supply, and may be able to get a lower rate than PPL’s price to compare. (That’s the rate we charge to supply energy to customers who don’t buy it from a competitive supplier.) Visit pplelectric.com/shopping for useful tips to get you started.

Those tips all cost relatively little to put in place. There are also bigger steps you can take toward efficiency that carry a cost in the short term, but should make it up over the long term.

If it’s been a while since your HVAC system was tuned up, schedule a professional maintenance visit. That will make sure your system is running as efficiently as possible.

Got a pool with an older pool pump? Today’s models can be significantly more efficient. Consider investing in a replacement, so you can save money while staying cool.

PPL Electric Utilities has many energy efficiency programs to reward customers for buying more efficient equipment through rebates on ENERGY STAR® central AC units, lighting, central heat pumps, ductless heat pumps, pool pumps, smart thermostats, refrigerators, and other equipment. Visit www.pplelectric.com/savings for more info on available rebates. PPL also offers a variety of business-focused rebates on lighting, HVAC and other systems; check out www.pplelectricbusinesssavings.com for more.

Whether your efficiency steps are large, small, or in between, we wish you a cool, enjoyable, energy-smart summer.

Carol Obando-Derstine is regional affairs director at PPL Electric Utilities.