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nterested in saving energy to lower your electric bill, but confused about new technology and information available to help you do so? Separate fact from fiction with the following energy-saving myths.


Myth #1: It takes less energy to have my thermostat maintain a comfortable temperature while I’m away than it does to have it heat up or cool down my house when I get home. If you’re going to be gone for more than a few hours, then it is more cost-effective to turn heat or air conditioning on once you return than it is to maintain a comfortable temperature while you’re out. ENERGY STAR, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy, recommends adjusting your thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter by 8 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re asleep or away from your house.


Myth #2: I can save money simply by installing a programmable thermostat.


On their own, programmable thermostats do not make your heating or cooling system more efficient. Their money-saving value lies in their ability to, once properly programmed, automatically regulate the temperature inside your house to coincide with when you’re there and when you’re not. If you need help programming your thermostat, directions are usually available from the manufacturer’s website.


Myth #3: When I turn off electronics (like


my TV, game console, or computer) they stop drawing power from the outlet. Even when turned off, most modern electronics consume a small amount of electricity if they’re still


Generator know-how


10 Northeast Connection P


plugged in. Chargers for mobile devices also consume electricity if plugged in, even when they are not actively charging the device. This wasted energy, called “phantom load,” accounts for as much as 10 percent of a home’s total electric use, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The solution: unplug your electronics when you’ve finished using them. Using a power strip can help you conveniently unplug multiple devices at once, while newer, “smart” power strips can automatically cut off phantom loads on their own.


Myth #4: Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) take forever to reach full brilliance, have inadequate light quality or unpleasant color, and make no difference on my utility bill. As with many products, CFLs vary in quality. Color and brightness differ across manufacturers, and some bulbs simply work better than others. Looking for the ENERGY STAR symbol ensures that you’re purchasing a high- quality product. Also, be sure to install CFLs in fixtures that remain on for long periods, or that you use often, to get the maximum energy savings out of your bulbs. In addition, specialty CFLs are available for applications such as spotlighting or bathroom vanity fixtures.


Myth #5: It is not worth my time or money to seal small air leaks around my windows and doors, or to make sure my home is adequately insulated.


According to ENERGY STAR, air leaks around cracks and gaps throughout your home become the equivalent of leaving a window open all year long. Typical homeowners can save up to 10 percent on their total annual energy bill by sealing and insulating their home.


ortable generators are useful when temporary electric power is needed, but they can be hazardous. Primary hazards include carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution and fire. Here are some steps you can take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from improper use of portable generators:  windows and vents. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and test often.


  from damage and the plug has a grounding pin.   by the same utility transformer. If necessary to connect generator to house wiring, have a qualified electrician install appropriate switching equipment.


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