Five Home Energy Tips That Save Money
Energy customers in Newburgh and the rest of the lower Hudson Valley have probably had enough of Central Hudson’s tricks and treats. While recent electricity rate increases have been bad enough, customers have been slogging through in the utility’s billing software problems. And now with the possibility of harsh winter weather and a looming recession, consumers need to find ways to cut their Central Hudson Electricity Bill further. Well, we’ve got you covered. The weather will be nice this weekend. So, let’s check out five easy ways to save those big energy $ in Lower Hudson Valley.
1 Air Seal Your Home and Save Energy
Newer homes are usually well sealed. But after a couple of years door and window seals can wear down and let in cold, moist air. One way to test for drafts is to close a dollar bill in the door or window and see if you can pull it out. You can also look for signs of mold along the edges of your doors or windows. Seal these leaks with self-adhesive foam weatherstripping. Installing a new door sweep or using a door draft stopper (some look like dogs) can also make a big difference for older doors. Lastly, it might look awful but if you have worn, drafty windows in an older home, putting clear plastic sheeting over them as a temporary fix can keep out howling January winds. You can apply clear plastic sheeting to the outside or the inside of the window.
2 Air Seal Your Duct Work
You’d expect that when duct work is installed that it stays tightly in place. Nope. Blower vibration, expansion and contraction from heating and cooling, as well as poor assembly techniques can all help pull ductwork joints apart. Also, when installers fold sheet metal to form the plenum (where your duct work joins the HVAC unit) they sometimes miss covering little holes or gaps in the corners. Seal these with aluminum duct tape or duct mastic. Don’t use the vinyl tape – it doesn’t last. Lastly, look for gaps and holes in the return ductwork, especially if these pass through unheated crawlspaces that are prone to grow mold.
3 Wood Heat Inspection Time
It turns out all that crackling noise about a wood heat ban in New York went up in smoke. The 2019 law plans to reduce wood consumption by 40% by requiring new construction to use more efficient wood-burning stoves. In fact a federal 30 percent tax credit kicks in during 2023 for new wood stoves. That also means you can still heat your home with your existing wood stove or fireplace! But do so, it’s a good idea to learn to burn wisely:
- Make sure you only use seasoned firewood that has had at least 6 months to dry (one year is best).
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned before you start burning regularly. Build up creosote is a fire hazard that can destroy your home.
- Never start a fire in your home with oil, gasoline, or some other accelerant. Use paper or dry kindling.
- Move anything that is flammable safely away from your fireplace or wood stove. Keep a working fire extinguisher at hand nearby just in case.
- Install a chimney cap. This will close off your fireplace when it’s not in use and keep animals, leaves, other debris, and the weather out.
4 Drapes and Curtains Save Energy
Windows account for 10%-25% of your heating loss. That’s because window glass is a lousy insulator. A single pane has an R-value of 1; a double pane is just 2. But hang a curtain over a window on one those 10°F nights in Newburgh, and suddenly that room isn’t quite as chilly. Regular fabric curtains can cut heat loss by 10%; thermal back drapes cut that loss further. Floor length drapes not only insulate the cold glass from the room’s warm air but they slow down the air flow past the window. And if you add a valance at the top, the air flow slows even more. Plus, drapes work in the summer to keep out the heat.
5 Shop For A New Electricity Plan
You have the power to choose an electricity supply company plan that meets your needs. Ditch Central Hudson’s out-of-wack default supply rate. Their rates went from 4 cents per kWh in June to 16.93 cents per kWh in September. With so much uncertainty next year, who knows what the utility will charge by spring. But right now if you lock in a low rate 12-month plan or longer, you can shield yourself from their spike-prone Price to Compare rates.
Retail electricity rates in the Lower Hudson Valley are competitive right now with Central Hudson’s 16.93 cents per kWh. But they won’t stay that way for long so shop NY electric companies and compare plans now! You can shop plans and read provider reviews and more at https://www.nyenergyratings.com.