Easy ways to keep skyrocketing energy prices in check

Maggie Delewski of Rotterdam has never used a clothes dryer. She uses her clothesline when possible and also has a wooden drying rack. It might take a little longer to get the job done, but the amount of energy Delewski has conserved along with the hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars she has saved over the years is well worth it.

Although green living has become a hot trend lately, there are those who have been doing it for years. Delewski said saving on energy just takes common sense.

"It's as simple as using the resources that we have all the time around us -- free and natural resources like the sun," said Delewski.

Colleen Q. Ryan, assistant director of communications for New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said that not using the clothes dryer and only washing full loads of laundry are the fastest and easiest ways to see a drop in electricity and water bills.

"When doing laundry, only wash and dry full loads, always rinse in cold water, and hang your laundry outdoors to dry when possible," said Ryan.

Air conditioning is a major energy drain in the summer months. Ryan said the first thing NYSERDA recommends to residents is purchasing qualified Energy Star room air-conditioners and central air-conditioning systems, which use up to 25 percent less energy than non-Energy Star appliances.

"Always purchase units with the highest energy efficiency ratio, or EER, which are more energy efficient, costing you less to operate. When purchasing a room [air-conditioner], make sure you are purchasing a unit that is properly sized for the area you want to cool," said Ryan.

Bill Paige, of Paige Heating and Cooling in Schenectady, said that in addition to purchasing an energy-efficient air conditioner, it is important for homeowners to make sure the units are working properly.

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