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Conservation can save money on power costs

Q:  My retirement income makes me ineligible for any subsidies or assistance. I still have to be careful and stick to a strict monthly budget since I have minimal savings. My biggest worry is the cost of my electric bill seems to keep going up each year. Do you have any ideas on how to lower my costs or where I can get the information?

A:   Your question required some research, this isn’t our usual area of expertise. We realized this most likely is an issue many other individuals encounter regardless of their age. Some of the information may come as a surprise to anyone reading this column.

The use and cost of energy affects each of us every day of our lives. The concern is something we all should pay attention to for more reasons than just the costs involved… gas emissions, acid rain, climate change and the dependency on unstable countries which supply fuel. One expert in the field stated: “Americans waste as much as 60 percent of the energy produced.” There are steps anyone can take to reduce energy consumption in their own living environment.

Whenever the need arises to replace older appliances always look for energy efficient models. This will not only reduce usage costs but in some instances rebates are available. Using smaller kitchen appliances such as microwaves, toaster ovens and slow cookers uses far less energy than a full-size oven.

Numerous electronics – televisions, microwaves, scanners, printers – continue to use standby power even after they have been turned off. Purchase an advanced power strip to prevent this vampire power usage. LED bulbs last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and also use 75 percent less energy. Remember to turn off lights when they are not needed. Use solar lights over doors at night as opposed to leaving a light fixture on. Set the cold water cycle on a washer for rinsing clothes. Clean the lint screen on the dryer after every use, clogged screens use 30 percent more energy in addition to creating a fire hazard. Plug in phones, tablet or laptops only long enough to charge them, then keep the charger unplugged.

If your power company, gas or electricity, offers a home energy efficiency checkup, take advantage of the service. The audit may alert you to areas of the home which if improved will save on power usage. There are numerous online websites providing additional information on this subject.

 

Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our staff is available for a no-cost consultation, set up at your convenience, to help guide you through your caregiving experience. For more details or to schedule an appointment, please call 800-892-0890.

Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Please direct your correspondence to ageinfo@esmv.org or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., Age Information Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the CEO of Elder Services.