NJ’s heating bills increase this witness. Here are ways to save

Over the summer, Behram Ivani’s monthly electricity bill rose from $ 91 to over $ 150, an increase of 67%.

When the Montvale resident asked his power company about the peak, they told him, “This is what it is,” he recalls.

His prospects for reducing those costs improved a few months later, when he received a postcard offering a Audit from PSE & G, free of charge.

“I was like, ‘Wow, that’s awesome,’ Ivani said. “It’s good for the planet and good for the wallet. “

Ivani was just one of some 300 PSE & G customers who chose last week to undergo an energy audit of their home in the hopes of reducing both costs and the carbon footprint, said public service officials.

As temperatures drop and heating costs increase, identifying energy waste could make a substantial difference.

The cost of heating oil last week increased by more than 50%, or $ 1.20 per gallon, from November 2020, according to the New York State Energy Resources and Development Agency. Natural gas prices have almost doubled this year.

Even with the release of strategic oil reserve stocks, announced on Tuesday, energy bills will go up, but there are some things you can do.

What to expect from an energy audit

Energy audits can range from free – like those from PSE & G and those offered by other utilities – to a few hundred dollars.

Last Tuesday, PSE & G was in the Iranian house in Montvale for about an hour, changing light bulbs, examining insulation, inspecting heating and cooling systems and taking inventory of household appliances.

Matt Kroh changes the aerator on a kitchen sink during a PSE & G home energy audit on Tuesday, November 23, 2021.

It took about an hour. The listener spent most of his time swapping bulbs.

Although about 20 years ago, an energy audit prompted Ivani to switch to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) – bulbs that typically have a corkscrew shape – the good news is that LED bulbs are even more efficient. .

“They also light up right away,” Ivani said.

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Ivani was also recommended to change some of her weatherstripping, and the auditor brought aerators for the kitchen faucet and the bathroom showerhead, which should help reduce water consumption. water, and in particular the consumption of hot water.

Other than that, Ivani’s house seemed to be in good shape. It will likely reap the $ 110 that average homeowners will save when they change light bulbs and reduce “phantom power” use, PSE & G officials said.

It’s cold outside

However, the owner of Montvale may not be the norm. Many people live in homes that leak heat through poorly insulated windows, doors and walls.

PSE & G says weatherstripping is a great way to cut home heating costs, and there are products in all price ranges, starting with removable caulk. The onset of the cold season is the best time to check for heat leaks.

Professional auditors can perform more intensive work exams such as a door blower test or infrared scan, both of which can take longer and provide more comprehensive information, identify areas that are losing heat. The main areas of concern are doors and windows.

For those who don’t want to spend the extra cash, the DIY method is to hold an incense stick near doors and windows and watch for smoke – even a small leak will be detectable.

Matt Kroh changes a light bulb during an energy audit of a home by PSE & G on Tuesday, November 23, 2021.

Other methods of detecting air leaks involve shining a flashlight at night on any potential gaps while a partner observes the house from the outside. Large cracks will show up as light rays, but this is not an effective way to detect small cracks.

Or close a door or window on a dollar bill. If you can pull out the dollar bill without it lying around, you’re wasting energy.

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Here are some other simple tips to cut heating costs

  • Open blinds and curtains when the sun is shining, but keep them closed at night for extra insulation. Even the weak rays of the sun in winter can warm a room.
  • If you have ceiling fans, reverse the direction to distribute warmer air to the room below. If done correctly, you shouldn’t feel the air blowing.
  • Lower your thermostat to 63 degrees at night and when no one is home. (Premium: Cooler room temperatures allow better sleep, many studies have found.)
  • Add foam gaskets behind your outlets and switch plates. A lot of heat can escape from the containers.
  • Put on a sweater! And keep blankets handy for those evenings in front of the TV.

Using phantom power

Another source of energy waste is the use of phantom power. The multitude of devices we have plugged in could use significant amounts of energy, even when not in use. Home improvement stores sell electricity consumption monitors that can tell you how much energy these devices are using, even at rest.

Turn off the lights and walk around to see which fixtures and other devices are using power – you will see the LED lights glow. Typical culprits include entertainment-related devices, such as set-top boxes for recording TV shows and game consoles, which can drain power in standby mode.

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Help is available

Reducing energy costs doesn’t have to be expensive.

New Jersey has a Clean Energy Program that offers discounts and other ways to help people who want to retrofit their homes. Help through the New Jersey Comfort Partners program is available for those with modest means. To find out if you qualify, visit NJcleanenergy.com and search Comfort Partners.

There are many programs available from utilities including PSE & G and JCP & L with incentives to reduce energy costs.

Matt Fagan is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @fagan_nj

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