Tips to keep cooling costs under control

Because of the extraordinary temperatures across the nation so far this summer, Public Service Electirc & Gass reminds customers that the increased use of electricity to run fans and air conditioners to escape the heat has resulted in higher-than-normal energy bills."We're hearing from many customers who are surprised when they open their bills, but the costs are accurate," said Joseph Forline, the utility's vice president of customer operations. "Last summer was much cooler than what we've had so far this year. People may not recall the energy expenses associated with past very hot summers. However, there are ways to manage costs that we continually look to share with our customers." PSE&G is offering tips to help customers plan ahead for the remainder of the summer and control energy costs: * Use ceiling fans in the counter-clockwise direction to create a wind-chill effect, making you feel cooler. Also, whole-house fans that bring in cooler night-time air can pre-cool a house and reduce energy use in the daytime if heat is kept out by closing windows and shades. * Install a programmable thermostat. If health conditions permit, raise the setting from 73 to 78 degrees. You can save 3 to 5 percent on your air conditioning costs for each degree you raise the thermostat. * Close doors leading to uncooled parts of your home. If you have central air conditioning, close off vents to unused rooms. Keep filters clean. * Plant shade trees close to the house on the South and West sides. * Seal holes and cracks around doors and windows. Eliminate air leaks between window air conditioners and windows with foam insulation or weather-stripping. * Turn off power sources. TVs, computers and other electronic devices draw power when they are in standby mode or turned off but still plugged in. Plug electronics into power strips and turn off the power switch when the items are not in use. * Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which use 75 percent less electricity and burn more coolly than incandescent bulbs. Keep in mind that CFLs are especially handy in hard-to-reach fixtures and won't need to be replaced for about five years. * Use timers and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting. * Delay heat-producing tasks such as laundry until later in the day. Wash full loads, using cold water whenever possible. * Run the dishwasher at night, using the shortest cycle that will get the dishes clean. If manufacturers' directions permit, turn the dishwasher off before the dry cycle or use the air dry feature if your machine has one. * Take short showers. They use less hot water than a bath. * Replace old appliances with new energy efficient Energy Star appliances. * Unplug the extra refrigerator in your garage or basement and use it only when necessary. Refrigerators that are only 10 years old can use twice as much electricity as new Energy Star labeled models. To view demonstrations of how to save money in your home, visit PSEG's YouTube channel at We encourage you to share the information with family and friends. For additional ways to save energy and money, visit

********** Published: August 5, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 16