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Save energy during summertime heat
After an unusually mild and wet spring -- McCook is .9 of an inch ahead of normal precip -- we've moved right into summer-type weather, hitting 96 degrees about 7 p.m. Tuesday.
There are alternatives to sweating through the summer or eating peanut butter sandwiches to be able afford paying your electric bill, according to the Nebraska Public Power District.
NPPD has a vested interest; the utility works hard to keep up with peak demand during the summer air conditioning and irrigation season, and it's in everybody's best interest to make things easier for them.
The simplist is to turn up your thermostat a little, according to Steve Zach, NPPD energy efficiency supervisor.
That's because air condition accounts for up to 70 percent of the average home or apartment's summer electric bill. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it between 78 and 82 degrees if you plan to leave for an extended period of time. Every degree below 79 costs an extra 3 or 4 percent.
Ceiling fans can make you feel four degrees cooler, but fans do no good when no one's in the room to enjoy the wind-chill effect on the skin. Turn them off when you leave the room.
Close curtains to direct sunlight, and consider solar screens on east- and west-facing windows.
Turn off unnecessary lights, and switch to LED bulbs if you can. You can get a one-time incentive of $5 for up to 15 LED bulbs purchased.
How about all those AC adapters? Unplug cell phone chargers, televisions and computers to eliminate "phantom loads" that account to 5 to 10 percent of overall home energy use. Smart power strips can automatically shut off power while in standby mode.
The summer kitchen our ancestors used are still a good idea. Grill outdoors or use a microwave oven to cut down heat inside. While you're at it, lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install low-flow shower heads and aerators for faucets.
Besides the LED rebates, NPPD and its wholesale customers have other energy incentive programs for things like system tune-ups, attic insulation, high efficiency heat pumps and others.
Visit http://bit.ly/1Ge6eks for more information.