Save 5 – 15% on your Energy Costs with a programable thermostat!

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The cheapest, cleanest, and greenest energy is the energy not used. There are many ways to be more energy efficient—from equipment upgrades to things that don’t cost a cent. The Grand Haven Board of Light & Power has a list of Energy Star rated appliance rebates go to mienergysmart.com if you are a BLP customer.

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Let nature do some of the work. Consider leaving your windows open and cutting the air conditioner at night, when temperatures are much more moderate. Then keep the windows shut during daylight hours to help keep that cooler air inside. You can also install window coverings, which can block out sunlight and heat during the day. Also, increase insulation and seal cracks that may let out cold air.

Fans can make higher temperatures in the home feel more comfortable. When using a ceiling fan along with air conditioning, Energy.gov states that you can raise the thermostat approximately 4 degrees Fahrenheit without reducing comfort level…

 

 

Lightning Strikes 25 million times a year!

The National Weather Service (NWS) reports that every year lightning strikes at least 25 million times, and in the United States alone, an average of 49 people are killed and 400 injured as a result of lightning each year. It is simply not safe to be outdoors during a thunderstorm. That is why NWS advises, “When thunder roars, go indoors.” However once inside a safe shelter, there are additional and important safety steps to take.

Last year, a teenage girl and her family took cover inside of their home during a tornado warning. They thought that they were safe from the effects of the storm until the daughter opened the refrigerator. She let out a scream as there was a loud boom and the house went dark. She had been struck by lightning. Fox 7 in Austin, Texas reports that although the teen is now fine, she was initially rushed to the hospital after being unable to walk, shaking with severe pain from the lightning strike.

Staying inside reduces the risk for lightning strikes, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one-third of lightning strike injuries occur indoors. Safe Electricity recommends the following tips to help keep you safe inside the home during a thunderstorm…

  • During a storm, stay away from anything that conducts electricity inside of the home. This includes corded phones, plumbing, or running water. Cellular or cordless phones are safe to use during a storm.
  • Never use your computer, gaming systems, washer, dryer, or any other appliance that connects to an electrical outlet…

 

National Love Your Pet Day

It’s raining cats and dogs!  As a past dog(s) owner everywhere I look there is a growing number of Dog and Cat lovers! You really notice it after you no longer have a pet in your home. With the growing number of dog and cat owners, I wanted to focus this article on how to help pet owners keep their furry friends safe around electricity, and it seems really appropriate as we celebrate National Love Your Pet Day on February 20, 2016.

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4 important tips to protect your pet from electrical dangers –

  1. Some pets may find a cozy warm spot near electronics to stay warm. This is not safe. Discourage your pets from doing so, and block off electronics if you must.
  2. Make sure all electronics are completely plugged in. A visible electric prong may attract the attention of a pet. A small nose or paw could fit in a gap between a plug and outlet.
  3. If you have an aquarium, make sure you create a drip loop on every electrical cord that enters the tank.  This will prevent water from running down the cord and into the electrical outlet.  To be sure the cord stays looped, stick a cord clip on the wall just below the outlet and thread the cord into the clip….
  4. Coat cords with a bitter substance to make them undesirable to pets. Appropriate and safe products can be purchased online or at pet stores…PET SAFETy (1)

Signs of aging household wiring

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To help prevent injury and illness there are steps we take to care for ourselves—especially as we get older. Our homes also have to be maintained to stay in good shape, and an important part of that maintenance includes a home’s electrical system.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2011, an estimated 47,700 home fires occurred as a result of electrical failure or malfunction, costing $1.4 billion in direct property damage.
The National Association of State Fire Marshals reports that older homes are more than three times more likely to have an electrical fire than newer homes.

Signs of electrical wiring problems;
dim or flickering lights, a burning smell, smoke, shocks, discoloration at electrical outlet or switch, frayed wires, breakers that trip or blow, and signs of potential rodent damage that may affect insulation. If you suspect a problem, cut power to the outlet or switch at the circuit breaker and contact an electrician to make repairs.

Did you know?

Older homes were not designed for today’s electronics and appliances.
If you have an older home, you may find that you need your electrical service inspected. The National Electric Code’s minimum standard for residential electric service is 100 amps.

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Ready Your Home for Winter

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Using energy more efficiently — especially heating — during cold months can cut the amount of money you spend on your utility bill.
Energy.gov reports that heating and cooling accounts for about 48 % of a typical U.S. home’s energy use, making it the largest energy expense for most homes.

Replacing a dirty filter will increase the air flow and make your home more energy efficient (with the added benefit of cleaner air in your home).

Turning the thermostat down a few degrees when you are away from home or sleeping also helps to reduce your monthly utility bill. For an even more hassle-free option, you can install a programmable thermostat that will automatically turn the heat down when you need it to and can begin heating your home before you wake up.

Other money saving steps include: opening your curtains to naturally heat your home, setting your ceiling fan to spin clockwise to blow hot air down, and adding insulation to your walls.

If it is time to replace your old furnace, look for energy-efficient models. Furnaces with an Energy Star rating usually exceed federal standards for energy efficiency, and can make choosing the right model that much easier.

Check your home for air leaks. Depending on the location of the leak, there are a variety of actions you can take to plug the leak.

Are you ready to take the next step in improving your home’s energy efficiency? Contact a local home energy auditor. A home energy audit pinpoints exactly where your home is losing energy and what you can do to stop it, saving you anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on your energy bill.

Watch this video from Energy.gov on how a home energy audit works.

The BLP recommends the following steps:

• Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
• Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows and baseboards.
• Replace door bottoms and thresholds with pliable sealing gaskets.
• Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.

Source: EnergyEdCouncil.org

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Holiday Safety Checklist!

The holiday season just would not be the same for many people without the bright and colorful light displays that decorate houses and city streets alike. Unfortunately, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that more than 12,500 people are sent to the emergency room every holiday season because of injuries sustained from lighting and decorating.  Safe Electricity provides tips for those who are undertaking holiday lighting and decorating projects to help them do safely.

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Begin by checking that every strand of lights has been tested and approved by an official lab and make sure the cord is rated for where it will be used — whether indoors or outside. Examine each strand for any fraying or damage. To prevent possible electrical shocks or fires, do not use any damaged cords. Typically, one extension cord should only have three strands of lights connected to it at most, but you should also check that the extension cord is rated for its intended use.

Lights and decorations that are outdoors should be plugged into an outlet with ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection. A GFCI can protect you from electrical shock from damaged or defective decorations, or accidental electrical contact with water. GFCIs can be installed in a circuit breaker box or in an outlet and can be used anywhere you need it with the portable version…Give the gift of safety this holiday season.

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