Go back

Emeritus professor of chemistry offers tips for reducing energy costs

August 19, 2003

With temperatures in the '90s for days on end, and air conditioners running virtually round the clock, you can practically see the dollars flying out of your bank accounts en route to power companies.

How can we bring those monthly power bills down? Is there anything we can do?

Emeritus professor of chemistry Dr. Harvey Blanck offers some answers.
August 19, 2003

With temperatures in the '90s for days on end, and air conditioners running virtually round the clock, you can practically see the dollars flying out of your bank accounts en route to power companies.

How can we bring those monthly power bills down? Is there anything we can do?

Emeritus professor of chemistry Dr. Harvey Blanck offers some answers.

Set your thermostat just four degrees higher. "If the outside temperature is 90, setting the inside temperature at 75 degrees instead of 70 degrees will save 20 percent," Blanck says. For every degree below 75, expect to pay an additional 5 percent, he adds.

Add insulation to ceilings and floors. "Doubling the amount of fiberglass (or equivalent) insulation will nearly double the R value of the ceiling," Blanck says. "For example, increasing the ceiling insulation from 6 inches of fiberglass to 12 inches would reduce energy consumption about 11 percent."

Replace uninsulated garage doors. "About all they do is to keep out the wind, rain, snow and your neighbor's cat," Blanck says. They do nothing to reduce energy costs. "Either replace them with insulated doors or add insulation to them."

Reduce the temperature setting on your hot water heater. A setting of 125 not only will reduce energy consumption but also reduce the risk of accidental burns. Add some additional insulation around the hot water tanks while you're at it, Blanck says.

Control sunlight entering the house. Plant deciduous trees to the west of your house, and close curtains and blinds during the day to prevent the sun from heating the room. (Do the opposite in winter. Open blinds and curtains to let the sun's rays warms the room.)

Turn off the air conditioner on cool nights. "During much of the summer, no air conditioning is needed at night if windows are open," Blanck says.

Install an attic fan. Adequate air circulation can lower the attic temperature significantly during the summer and reduce air conditioning energy usage.

For more on energy conservation, plus information on calculating the cost of heating and cooling the typical home, check out Blanck's Web site, www.apsu.edu/blanckh/energy.htm