TIP OF THE WEEK
As Americans gear up for sun, surf, barbecues and all the other fun activities that represent summer, they’re also concerned with how to keep themselves and their homes comfortably cool this season.
Of course, they’re also concerned with controlling costs. The average homeowner spends nearly half of their yearly utility bills — an average of $900 — on heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Brilliant breezes:. Ceiling fans create a breeze effect that makes air seem cooler than it really is, allowing you to set your thermostat slightly higher without discomfort. On hotter days, raising the thermostat by only two degrees and using a ceiling fan can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 14 percent.
Get with the program: Tune up your heating and cooling system annually and change filters every three months. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment. If your home has uneven temperatures between rooms, consider adding insulation to your attic.
It’s curtains for you: When you’re away from home or simply don’t need full sunlight, use double- or triple-layered heavy curtains backed with insulated material to keep the sun from unnecessarily heating your rooms, especially those with windows facing west.
Thoughts on your thermostat: Optimize your heating and air conditioning use by installing a Wi-Fi enabled ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat. They’re independently certified to deliver reliable performance and energy savings, and let you use your computer or smartphone to remotely adjust your home’s temperature on demand, schedule automatic temperature changes based on your lifestyle and receive important feedback on energy use.
Become a microwave master: You can use up to 80 percent less energy when you cook via microwave oven instead of traditional oven or stove, and because a microwave generates less heat, your home stays cooler so you can also save on air conditioning.
Air-dry clothes: Clothes dryers are the largest energy user in the laundry room. That makes indoor or outdoor air drying an excellent alternative. Switching to a clothesline or series of drying racks for just three months of the year could conserve up to 408 pounds of greenhouse gases annually.
According to the National Retail Federation, the top 10 retail stores are:
1. Walmart ($362,815,000)
2. The Kroger Co. ($110,215,000)
3. Costco ($85,778,000)
4. The Home Depot ($85,086,000)
5. CVS Caremark ($81,482,000)
6. Walgreens Boots Alliance $79,283,000)
7. Amazon.com ($77,024,000)
8. Target ($69,495,000)
9. Lowe’s Companies ($60,409,000)
10. Albertsons Companies ($58,696,000)
NUMBER TO KNOW
$2,740: According to a new report from the American Association of University Women, the average woman student owes $2,740 more than a man upon finishing a bachelor’s degree.
Apple’s Health Records API open to developers
Apple recently announced it delivered a Health Records API so that researchers and developers can create an ecosystem of apps for health care. The health record data will be used to help users better manage medications, nutrition and diagnosed diseases. The app will allow consumers to share medical records from multiple hospitals to access medical information on their iPhone. According to Apple, the Health Records data is encrypted and protected with the consumer’s iPhone passcode.
— More Content Now