Reducing Energy Costs | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Reducing Energy Costs

The U.S. Department of Energy ranks Mississippi 30th in the nation for electricity consumption; we're ninth in residential per capita electricity consumption, 38th in the amount of homes heated with natural gas and 42nd in per capita natural-gas consumption.

Have you ever looked around your house and noticed how many appliances were running? If you're like most Americans, you may have several lights on, your television running, clothes in the washing machine and dinner cooking in the oven—all at the same time.

Entergy Mississippi spokeswoman Mara Hartmann says the average June bill for Entergy Mississippi residential customers was $96.02. Our energy consumption takes money out of our pockets and strains our earth's natural resources. Here are tips to saving money and living better when it comes to your home.

Most common places air leaks are found:
Vents
Wall or window-mounted air conditioners
Window frames and seals
Baseboards
Fireplaces

In The Home:
The organization Solar Day, which held a national Solar Day June 19, promotes steps to reduce home-energy bills. The first step is to run an energy audit by locating any air leaks in your home. Reducing drafts in your home can save anywhere from 5 percent to 30 percent on your annual energy bill.

Update Heating/Cooling Equipment
• Use wood stoves and heating/cooling units produced after 1990 as they meet federal emissions standards. When a unit is more than 15 years old, it adds to the energy bill because it uses more heat.
• During winter months, open shades on south windows to increase solar heating.
• Wear warmer and more layers of clothing in the winter.

Lighting
• Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
• Turn off lights when leaving a room.
• Use one higher-wattage bulb rather than several lower-wattage bulbs.

Entergy's Simple Steps Program
Entergy customers can fill out a home energy survey at http://entergy-mississippi.com and receive a free weatherization kit containing items that can be easily applied for small-scale efficiency improvements, such as caulk, vinyl door sweeps, air-filter whistles and compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

Reducing Your Energy Bill
• Air-dry clothes instead of using an electric dryer.
• Wash and air-dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher.
• Instead of putting appliances on standby mode, turn them completely off and unplug.
• Use ceiling and box fans instead of air conditioner window units or central air.
• Use sunlight during daytime hours (opening curtains/blinds).
• Unplug appliances when leaving your home unoccupied.

Does unplugging appliances make a difference?
The U.S. Department of Energy reports that many appliances continue to draw electricity even when they are switched off; as much as 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed when the products are on standby or turned off and plugged in. Unplugging a single appliance might not make a huge different in your power bill, but turning off power strips and additional appliances could add up.

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