Cutting Your Energy Bills (With Help From Miley Cyrus?)
No, no one's suggesting the singer is about to start tossing $100 bills from the top of the Empire State Building. (Although you never know with her.) But in case you hadn't heard, not only did the U.S. Energy Information Administration just announce some very unwelcome news for consumers -- more than 90 percent of American homes will see higher heating bills through March -- but it also turns out the average price of electricity hit or matched record highs throughout 2013.
"Americans now pay 42 percent more for electricity than they did a decade ago," CNSNews reported.
So how does Miley figure in for anyone looking to beat the EIA's odds? Read on for the answer and other cost-saving tips.
* Pleading "forgetfulness" won't work anymore when it comes to "vampire energy." For years, you've been hearing how leaving devices like computers, DVRs and gaming consoles plugged in when not in use sucks up $10 billion annually in wasted energy. Well, all it now takes to automatically shut them down is an inexpensive energy-saving wall outlet.
* Be shrewd about ceiling fans. File this in the "Simple Little Tricks Department": "[Running fans] counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer, and clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months," advises U.S. News & World Report.
* Make sure your attic is properly ventilated. Homeowners are practically inviting higher energy bills if there's not what Jason Joplin, program manager of the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence, calls "a continual flow of air to protect the efficiency of your attic's insulation." Working against achieving that: excess moisture build-up that clings to your roof's underside in winter from seemingly benign sources -- i.e., appliances, showers and cooking vapors -- before ultimately soaking the insulation when the condensed moisture falls.
Joplin's pick for heading off the problem is the Cobra Ridge Vent by GAF (www.gaf.com), North America's largest roofing manufacturer, because of its ability to "naturally promote ridge ventilation without electricity."
* Play pop and rock music to your solar panels. Okay, here's the Cyrus connection, which obviously only applies to those who've already gone green. According to new research out of Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College London, the music's "high frequencies and pitch cause vibrations that enhance energy generation in solar cells." A British news outlet only mentioned the twerkette; however, feel free to try your own fave.
Week 7 — Team of the Week