Do You Need a Home Energy Management System?

Are you thinking about installing a solar power array? Want to maximize energy efficiency? Then you may be interested in a home energy management system (HEMS). 

A home energy management system is designed to improve household energy use, but these systems aren’t cheap. Before you make an investment in a home energy management system take a few minutes to learn more about what a HEMS can do and how you could benefit from using one. 


The Basics About Home Energy Management Systems

The home energy management system global market is growing rapidly. It was a $2.1 billion industry in 2021 but is expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2027. It’s a clear sign that as energy prices increase, more people are looking for ways to curb consumption.

The primary objective of a home energy management system is to better manage energy use to improve efficiency. The HEMS does this by gathering information then using that information to:

  • Analyze how energy is used in the home. 
  • Measure the energy requirements of appliances and systems. 
  • Measure the energy consumption of appliances and devices.
  • Coordinate the operation of electrical components including solar panels and appliances.
  • Optimize energy consumption by automating systems.
  • Sync and manage smart devices.
  • Manage home batteries and backup power supplies.
  • Analyze local utility data to adjust use based on current energy demand.

If you have solar panels you can do even more with a home energy management system. One big advantage is being able to balance out and distribute solar power throughout the day. It helps overcome the issue of inconsistent energy production. And when you produce energy with your solar panels the HEMS can determine whether it should be used, stored or redistributed to the electrical grid. 

Installing a home energy management system can reduce energy use by 5-10%. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that you’re using energy in a more sustainable way that helps decrease demand that is getting harder to meet. Plus, reducing energy use can help extend the life of your appliances, saving you even more money in the long run. 

How a Home Energy Management System Improves Efficiency

A home energy management system is a sophisticated setup that can accomplish some pretty amazing things. But how does a HEMS do it?

HEMS Software – The Brains of the System

A home energy management system is powered by innovative software. Without the software nothing is possible. The software’s algorithms are able to analyze massive amounts of data in real time. It then converts the data into reports that can be easily read and used to make energy efficiency updates. The software can even identify trends in the data and make predictions about future energy consumption. 

A home energy management system is analyzing more than just your energy use. To make the best predictions and adjustments HEMS software also measures:

  • Weather Conditions – The weather is going to have a big influence on energy use and needs. That’s why a HEMS constantly monitors current weather conditions. It’s the best way to balance comfort and efficiency.  
  • Availability of Electricity and Demand – If the grid gets strained a home energy management system can help ease the load. By measuring demand and the availability of electricity a HEMS can adjust energy use and tap into stored power if the home has solar panels. 
  • Current Energy Rates – A home energy management system can also take energy rates into consideration to determine the best way to automate systems. If you have a time-of-use or variable rate plan this feature can help you reduce energy costs even if you don’t use less energy. 

The Parts of a Home Energy Management System

The software is the brains of the HEMS operation, but it can’t do everything on its own. Other components are needed to make the system operable so that it can provide you with actionable information. The two other key components of a home energy management system are:

The Hub – The Heart of the System

The software connects to a hub in order to gather all of the data it analyzes. The hub is a device that is installed at the electric panel. It’s like a middle man that relays data from the panel to the software.

Internet-Connected Device – The Interface of the System

The software and hub gather data, but the information doesn’t do much good if you can’t read it. That’s where an internet-connected device comes into play. A device is needed to interact with the software so that the data can be read. Using a corresponding app you can get energy data reports, see changes in energy use and receive suggestions on how to reduce energy consumption. 

Provider Power customers can receive data on energy use even if they don’t have a home energy management system. Each month we’ll provide you with valuable information on how you consume energy so that you can reduce use and lower monthly costs.

Check to see which Provider Power energy plans are available in your area

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Gas Appliances vs Electric Appliances: Which Are Better for Your Energy Bills?

Are you buying a new home? Maybe you have an appliance that’s on its last leg? Or you want to upgrade your appliances for greener models? 

No matter what has you shopping around for appliances, there’s probably one big question on your mind. Are gas appliances or electric appliances better for my energy bills? 

That’s a good question and a pretty significant one. Some people don’t have the option and can only use electric appliances. But for those of you who can choose between gas and electric appliances, keep reading to get a better idea of which one is going to cost less to operate every month. 

Energy Rates: Electric Appliances vs Gas Appliances

The first thing most people think about when they’re deciding between electric and gas appliances is the cost of the energy source. Given that a lot of electricity is generated using natural gas, it’s understandable that gas prices would be cheaper than electricity prices. Generally speaking, electricity is more expensive than gas.

Of course, that isn’t always the case, especially in the northeast. You may remember how natural gas more than doubled in price over the last two years. 

When you compare costs, the timing makes a difference. At certain times of year, natural gas is going to cost more per therm in the northeast due to demand for heating fuels. If it’s a particularly cold winter season it can really increase the cost of natural gas. That will close the gap between gas prices and electricity prices. 

But to know for sure, you’ll have to research the average gas prices and electricity prices for your area. Rates are going to vary from one market to the next, even within the same state. 

Of course, if you own or plan to own a solar power system, then electric appliances will likely be the most cost-effective option since you’d be using electricity you generate from the sun for free. 

Winner

Gas Appliances – In almost all instances, despite rising natural gas prices, gas will be cheaper than electricity. 

Energy Efficiency: Electric Appliances vs Gas Appliances

But what about efficiency? What you end up paying on your utility bills isn’t just a matter of how much an energy resource costs. How much energy is used to power appliances is also a big factor. For that reason, you have to also consider the energy efficiency of gas and electric appliances.

Experts agree that gas appliances tend to be more energy efficient than their electric counterparts. Part of the reason gas appliances are more energy efficient is because gas generates heat more quickly than electricity.

However, it does depend on the appliance. For example, gas dryers are 30% more energy efficient than electric dryers. BUT – gas washing machines no longer exist. They have been replaced by a more efficient option – high-efficiency electric washers. 

All new appliances should provide information on energy requirements, meaning how much energy is needed for operation. You can use this information paired with the average energy rates in your area to get a good estimate of how much the appliance will cost to operate either monthly or annually. 

Winner: Gas Appliances – Once again natural gas comes out on top as the most energy efficient option for many appliances, although some types of electric appliances use less energy.

What to Know if You’re Switching 

Something to consider is the cost of switching from electric to gas or vice versa. Your home may not be set up for both types of appliances, which means you’ll need to do some converting. The cost could be just a couple hundred dollars or it could be a few thousand. 

If you are converting to gas, then gas lines may need to be installed. Conservative estimates put the cost somewhere between $250 and $700. And if you are converting to all-electric, then gas lines may need to be capped off and new wiring put in. Installing electric lines costs around $350 per line. 

There could be an upfront cost, but you may find that the monthly savings after switching is worth it in the long run. Something else you’ll want to keep in mind is that gas appliances tend to last longer than electric appliances since they have few parts. If you plan to be in your home for years to come, appliance longevity matters.

No matter what type of appliances you have, you can count on Provider Power as your energy supplier. We have service areas across the northeast – use your zip code to find electricity plans in Massachusetts, Maine energy plans and New Hampshire power plans for homes and businesses.

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5 Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill in New Hampshire This Fall

This time of year in New Hampshire we’re starting to feel a reprieve from the warmer temperatures, but the winter cold isn’t right around the corner yet. It’s the perfect balance between the summer and winter seasons, which means it’s the ideal time for saving electricity. Let’s take a look at what New Hampshire residents can do in the fall to lower their electricity now and in the months ahead.  

Open the Windows to Let Fresh Air Flow Through

One of the simplest, easiest and most affordable ways to save electricity is to turn off the AC and open the windows up when it’s cool out early in the morning and later in the afternoon or evening. Not only will it help the house cool down naturally, it will also circulate in fresh air for improved air quality.

In New Hampshire during early fall the temperatures drop to 50-60 degrees at the coolest parts of the day. If you open things up strategically you might be able to completely forgo the AC and furnace during the whole season and significantly lower your electric bill.

Get the Furnace Serviced

Now is a great time to get your furnace serviced for the winter season since you may be tempted to turn on the heat at night when temperatures drop below 60 degrees. Professional servicing helps extend the life of the furnace and can improve energy efficiency. Beyond cleaning and replacing worn parts, you’ll want to check the insulation around the furnace ductwork. Adequate insulation will ensure heat isn’t lost in the unlivable cavities of the home.

Weatherize Over a Weekend

Energy efficiency experts recommend weatherizing a home once a year, and early fall is also the ideal time for this type of home maintenance. It helps to get your home prepared for the winter so you aren’t faced with easy-to-fix problems that make your home less comfortable, increase energy use and raise your electric bill.

Fortunately, weatherizing is fairly easy even for a novice DIYer. Here’s a quick checklist of what to do to weatherize your home:

  • Replace worn weather stripping around the exterior doors.
  • Install or replace worn weather stripping around the door to the garage and/or basement.
  • Caulk around the exterior doors and windows.
  • Caulk any gaps in the foundation and exterior seams of the home.
  • Add insulation to exterior pipes going into the home.
  • Inside the home add caulk to fill gaps around outlets and baseboards.

Take a look at our Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit Checklist for even more ways to weatherize and improve energy efficiency.

Limit Hot Water Use

When people are trying to conserve electricity to lower their energy bill, water use isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, the hot water heater is a pretty big energy consumer. And if you have an electric water heater every drop of hot water adds to the electricity bill.

  • Start by checking the temperature setting on your hot water heater. Set it to 120 degrees or lower. For every 10 degrees that it’s lowered energy use goes down by 5%.
  • Always turn on the cold water, not the hot water when using small amounts of water. If you use the hot water setting it will likely cause the water heater to start up, but the hot water won’t make it all the way out of the faucet by the time you’re done. It essentially starts up the hot water heater for nothing. 
  • Try to limit showers to no more than 10 minutes. Make the water use really count by washing your face, brushing your teeth, etc. while you’re in the shower.
  • Opt for showers rather than baths. A hot shower uses about a third of the water needed to fill a standard bathtub.

Look Into the Electric Assistance Program

New Hampshire has a number of energy assistance programs, one of which helps residents save on their electric bill. The Electric Assistance Program (EAP) is a state program that provides financial help for those who are having a hard time paying their electric bill. Eligibility for the program is based on income. Families and individuals that qualify can get a discount of up to 76% on their electric bill.

At Provider Power we’re proud to offer fixed-rate energy plans that make electric bills more predictable. You can lock in the kWh rate for 12 months or more so that you have more assurance and control over your energy costs. Check to see which New Hampshire energy plans are currently available in your area.

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Energy Savings Programs in New Hampshire

Most people already know that energy costs are going up in New Hampshire, particularly electric rates. The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has already announced that they estimate residential customers served by the utility companies Liberty and Eversource will end up paying $70 more a month for electricity. Customers served by the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative will likely pay $40 more a month on average.

What you may not know is there are state energy savings programs that can help lower costs for many NH consumers. And with the huge increase in electricity rates, more New Hampshire residents may qualify for a program.

Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs

Saving energy is a great first step in lowering utility costs. There are lifestyle changes you can make to save energy and there are also changes you can make to your home. New Hampshire residents that make energy efficiency improvements can get assistance and special incentives to offset the costs of lowering consumption.

It’s an effort on the state’s part to reduce energy consumption and make energy costs more manageable for more people. Since 2003 the state has offered programs to encourage residents and businesses to invest in energy efficiency improvements that lower demand. One way they do that is through incentive and rebates that lower the cost of energy efficiency improvements. These programs are offered through the state government, public utilities and local organizations.

You don’t have to install a solar panel system to get energy efficiency rebates in New Hampshire – although there are state programs for that. There’s a wide range of energy efficiency programs in New Hampshire that help with improvements large and small.

If there’s only one resource that you use to search for energy efficiency programs in New Hampshire it should be NHSaves. NHSaves publishes an updated list of energy efficiency rebates that are offered in the state as well as programs from the utilities.

Natural Gas Efficiency Programs

In New Hampshire, natural gas that’s needed to heat homes is usually in more demand than the electricity needed to cool homes. So it makes sense that the state utilities have energy efficiency programs for making improvements to reduce gas use.

Energy Audit Programs

If you want to know which energy efficiency improvements need to be made you can conduct a home energy audit. Some programs in New Hampshire will help residents with reimbursements or discounts for home energy audits.

Weatherization Assistance Programs

You can get assistance covering the costs of weatherizing your home through a few programs. If you’re served by Unitil or Liberty utility companies you could get kickbacks for energy audits and weatherization in addition to purchasing energy efficient equipment for the home. Some community action agencies also offer incentives for weatherizing a home.

Electric Assistance Programs

You may not be the one who sets electricity prices, but if you’re a residential customer that needs help covering the cost of your electric bill the New Hampshire Electric Assistance Program (EAP) is a valuable resource. Those who qualify can get a discount of 8-76% on their electric bill. How big the discount is depends on household income and size. The Electric Assistance Program is a 12-month program so recipients will need to reapply each year.

Gas and Fuel Assistance Programs

In the winter time in New Hampshire, natural gas and other heating fuels can really escalate in price. Unfortunately, natural gas and other fuels are absolutely necessary for keeping a home safely livable. That’s why the state and utilities offer a few different programs specifically for heating-related costs.

Gas Assistance Program

Liberty Utilities and Unitil-Gas customers can get the delivery portion of their natural gas discounted by 60% if they qualify for the Gas Assistance Program. Qualifying for the Gas Assistance Program depends on whether you qualify for other state assistance programs such as the Fuel Assistance Program.

Fuel Assistance Program

If you heat your home with natural gas or another type of fuel you may still qualify for financial assistance to offset heating costs through the Fuel Assistance Program (FAP). FAP is part of the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). In addition to getting $158 to $1,575 off fuel costs, the program helps provide emergency fuel delivery and can delay a shut-off.

Qualifying for FAP is a little more involved than other programs. In addition to household size and gross income, eligibility depends on housing type, energy costs and how many heating degree days there are for your area. If you need to replace or repair a tank for storing heating oil you may be able to get help covering the cost through the SAFETANK Financial Assistance Program.

Community Action Agencies

If you need help figuring out if you’re eligible for any of these programs, then contact your local community action agency. There are six community action agencies in New Hampshire that provide assistance to low-income families in an effort to combat poverty and uplift low-income communities. The agencies have their own energy assistance initiatives that are aimed at helping reduce heating and electric costs for those in need. They can also help residents learn about federal and state financial assistance programs.

Provider Power can help customers determine if they qualify for energy saving assistance programs on top of signing up for competitively priced fixed rate energy plans. Check to see which Provider Power New Hampshire energy plans are available in your area.

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Choosing an Energy Supplier in New Hampshire

Choosing a New Hampshire energy supplier is a benefit of living in a deregulated energy market. But that also means if you want to find the best energy plan you’ve got to do a little legwork.

Savvy energy consumers know that comparison shopping is the best way to get a plan that fits your budget, needs and preferences. Consider this your cheat sheet with the specific steps for comparing New Hampshire energy suppliers.

Step 1 – Read Reviews for New Hampshire Retail Energy Suppliers

One of the best places to start when you’re choosing any kind of service provider is customer reviews. The reviews will give you the best idea of what it’s like to be an actual customer. When you’re looking at the reviews, start with the most recent ones. Those are going to be the most accurate depiction of how the company currently operates. It’s best to stick with REPs that have a rating of at least three stars or higher.

One thing to keep in mind is the number of reviews a retail energy supplier has. If a company has a 3.8 rating after 7 reviews it’s not quite as good as having a 3.8 rating with 42 reviews.

Step 2 – Find Out If There Are Consumer Complaints With the New Hampshire PUC

Next, it’s time to look into whether or not there are consumer complaints against local retail energy providers. Check to see what the complaint was about and how it was resolved. Every state will have departments that regulate and oversee retail energy suppliers. Part of their job is handling consumer complaints.

In New Hampshire the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) takes on that role. Energy consumers can file a complaint with the New Hampshire PUC by phone, email or mail.

The Better Business Bureau is another resource for consumers. You can find out if there are complaints against a company as well as other details like when the company was established.

Step 3 – Look Up Average Energy Rates in Your Area of New Hampshire

Knowing the average energy rates for your area is the only way of knowing which providers offer a fair, competitive rate. Energy rates vary from one market to the next, so even the state average may not be the norm for your area. For reference, the average electricity rate in New Hampshire in May 2022 was 22.41 cents per kilowatt-hour. You can check with EIA.gov for the latest state electricity and natural gas averages then drill down to your market.

There are a few things that influence New Hampshire energy rates:

  • The energy source
  • Type of rate (fixed or variable)
  • Incentives and programs that can lower the end cost

Step 4 – Visit the Websites of Local Retail Energy Suppliers

There are some websites that offer energy plan comparison tools. While these are a great way to figure out who provides energy in your market, it’s not the best way to choose a retail energy supplier. Those tools may not have the most up-to-date information or all of the plans that a supplier offers. They also don’t give you a feel for how the company operates.

Step 5 – Compare Energy Plans From at Least Three Suppliers

Once you’ve checked out the sites, it’s time to select your top three New Hampshire energy suppliers to compare them side-by-side. Who has the lowest energy rates? Who has the best customer service? Does a provider have special benefits or features?

Make a list of your needs and top wants. Now one by one see if a provider meets each criteria. In the end, you’ll want to have a clear idea of which provider checks the most boxes for your personal needs and wants.

Step 6 – Contact the Provider With the Best Energy Plan

After the comparison shopping is done you’ll know which energy plan is the best option for your situation. The final step is to contact the provider to verify all of the details and learn what you need to do next to get set up on an energy plan. They’ll be happy to help you through the process of signing up and getting your utilities set up.

At Provider Power we can make it easy for New Hampshire residents to sign up for a new energy plan or switch from their existing plan. Check out the current offers to compare our competitively priced fixed rate energy plans in New Hampshire.

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Who Sets Electricity Prices?

We all use electricity every day, and we pay an energy bill every month. But who is it that decides how much you pay for that electricity?

The answer to that question isn’t straightforward because it turns out there are a number of entities that influence electricity prices. By the time you’re given a retail electric rate, the electricity you purchased has already been bought a few times, and that impacts the price you pay at home. 

Let’s take a look at how electricity pricing is determined, starting with factors that can influence prices before electricity is generated.

Regulations Related to Energy Costs (State Government)

There’s one entity that plays a major role in the price of electricity long before it’s generated and delivered. The state government has a hand in electricity pricing no matter whether you’re in a deregulated or regulated energy market.

Each state has a public utilities commission (PUC) or department that’s in charge of overseeing the consumer energy market. One of their top priorities is keeping retail energy prices (what you pay) in check. Typically, PUCs will put a cap on transmission fees that utilities charge for delivering electricity. This helps to keep energy costs in check for consumers.

However, regulations vary by state. Some states have full regulation over wholesale and retail electricity prices. Other states don’t regulate generator fees or utilities at all.

The Cost of Energy Sources Used to Create Electricity (Fuel Providers)

Where your electricity comes from has a huge influence on the price. Electricity can be a natural phenomenon in the form of lightning, but it’s largely manmade. We’ve figured out how to generate electricity using a variety of fuel sources, and that’s where the costs begin. In order to create electricity one of the following is needed:

  • Natural Gas
  • Renewable Resources (hydropower, solar, wind, biomass, etc.)
  • Petroleum
  • Coal
  • Nuclear Power

So, fuel providers are the first to influence the actual price of electricity based on the rate that they charge electricity generators for their fuel. The fuel providers are setting their prices based on the cost of extraction as well as the current supply and demand for their fuel, which can be a global measure these days. Supply and demand is also heavily dependent on the weather.

The Cost of Generating Electricity – (Power Plants/Generators)

Fuels can’t produce energy on their own. They must go through a process to be converted to energy, and that requires expensive infrastructure. Power plants must be constructed, operated and maintained in order to generate electricity.

The cost of doing that is factored in with the price of the fuel source to determine the rate the electricity generator charges local utilities and retail energy providers. This is what’s known as the wholesale price of electricity.

The Cost of Getting Electricity to a Home or Business (Retail Energy Providers and Utilities)

Once the fuels are sourced and the electricity is generated there’s still more to do, which means there are more costs involved that increase the price of electricity. There are one or two primary players involved at this point: utilities and retail energy providers (REPs).

Regulated Energy Markets

In a regulated energy market there are no retail energy providers. Consumers have to simply go with the energy plans offered by the local utility that’s based on the rates they negotiate with electricity generation companies. That means the electricity prices that all consumers in the area pay is largely dependent on what the utility pays.

You’ll see another fee on your electric bill from the utility company. The utility company will charge a delivery fee or transmission fee. This is an additional fee that all consumers pay to cover the cost of maintaining power lines and distribution systems for delivering electricity.

Deregulated Energy Markets

In a deregulated energy market there are retail energy providers that work with consumers to establish electric service instead of the local utility. Each provider negotiates with electricity generators to get the best rate possible. The rates they pay are the basis for the rates they offer on consumer electricity plans. This model helps to increase competition and encourages REPs to secure the lowest rate possible.

Consumers in deregulated markets will also have to pay the utility delivery or transmission fee. That’s a set price that should be the same every bill no matter what electricity plan you choose.

Energy Plan Comparison Shopping (Consumers)

In a regulated market, consumers aren’t going to have much of an influence over electricity rates. They have to simply accept what the utility has to offer, but that isn’t the case in a deregulated market.

In deregulated markets, consumers are going to have an impact on the electricity price they pay because they have the ability to comparison shop. They have the power to pass up REPs that are charging high rates and look around for the best price per kWh. Ultimately, consumers in deregulated markets help determine retail energy prices based on what they are willing to pay. The more consumers comparison shop the lower rates will be because the REPs have to compete to attract customers.

As you can see, electricity prices are a moving target because there are so many variables and people involved. What one entity pays up the line will have an impact on the prices others pay further along in the distribution process.

It’s time to play a role in the electricity prices you pay in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine! Provider Power energy plans offer a fixed rate so you know what you’re paying every month. Use your zip code to start comparing energy plans!

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How to Charge Electronic Devices Efficiently

How many devices do you have plugged in right now? Chances are there is at least one phone, tablet or laptop hooked up to an electric outlet. 

Today nearly 6% of a household’s annual electricity use is from electronics. The total number of connected devices in the U.S. home has grown to 25 devices on average. And all of those devices need the power to keep working.

The more efficiently you charge your devices the longer they’ll last and the less energy you’ll use. So let’s jump right into the dos and don’ts of charging devices efficiently.

Don’t Charge Devices Overnight

Charging devices overnight isn’t good for the battery or your energy bill. Your battery won’t overload, but overnight charging does waste the battery’s lifespan. Here’s why. Devices are designed to quit charging once they reach 100%. However, in the background things are being used on the device so small amounts of power are being used. The charger will kick back on even if the battery drops to 99%.

As you can see even after the device is fully charged it will keep drawing small amounts of electricity that are completely wasted. It’s something called trickle charging. Never use the fast chargers overnight because this will be an even bigger issue. 

Do Short Periodic Charges

Instead of long charges that go from 0 to 100, aim to do smaller charges more periodically. With a compatible charger, you can get a good charge after just 30 minutes to an hour. Doing short charges puts less strain on the battery so that it will last longer.

Don’t Keep Devices in Hot Areas

Heat is known to zap the battery life of electronic devices at a faster pace. Think of electronic devices like human beings. About 78 degrees Fahrenheit is a comfortable temperature that will still conserve energy.

Another thing you’ll want to avoid is covering up your device and/or the charger. The device could still heat up in a mild temperature if it’s under a pillow or buried in a blanket. 

Do Use a Solar Charger

You’ll want to keep all of your devices in the shade except your solar chargers. Solar charges give you a way to keep devices powered without adding to the strained electric grid or your energy bill. But the pros do come with a few cons.

Pro

Doesn’t use electricity.

Available power supply when there’s no outlet.

Cons

May take longer to charge devices.

Need sun exposure to provide a charge.

You may also want to avoid wireless chargers of any kind right now. The issue is heating again. Sitting devices on wireless chargers can generate heat that isn’t good for the battery. 

Don’t Use High Speed Chargers Often

High-speed chargers are very convenient. Charging devices in less time seems like a huge upside – until you consider the downside. High-speed chargers use more voltage and that generates more heat. And as you now know, heat is never good for batteries in the long run.

Do Quick Charges With High Speed Chargers

If you need to charge up quickly or the only option is a high-speed charger there are ways to avoid overcharging and overheating the device. Only use high-speed chargers for 15-20 minutes max. The goal is to get enough of a charge to make it to another charger with less voltage. 

Don’t Wait Until the Battery is Completely Dead

Waiting until you reach 0% battery life isn’t the best time to break out your charger. Today’s lithium-ion battery will actually wear out sooner if you bring them all the way down to zero. The recommendation is to plug the device in before you get a 20% low battery warning. And if the warning pops up it’s definitely time to charge. 

Do Charge Devices to 80-90%

Experts recommend not charging a battery up to full power as it strains the battery just like running it down to empty. To extend the life of the battery as long as possible, just charge it up to 80-90%. 

Don’t Use Your Device While Charging

The whole reason you’re charging a device is probably that you need to use it. However, you should resist the urge to do so while the device is charging. Doing so could cause mini-cycling that makes the charging process take significantly longer.

Do Use a Smart Plug

Smart plugs are the latest craze in home automation and energy efficiency. You can use them to avoid overheating the battery with overcharging. Just plug the device in and then set the smart plug to supply power for a little amount of time. 

Charging devices more efficiently is something you’ll have to do on your own but at least you can count on Provider Power to deliver reliable energy when you need it. You can compare available energy plans and find the one that works for you while you wait for your devices to charge!

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The Ideal Home Temperature for Summer

Worried the increasing heat is going to cause your electric bill to skyrocket? Not sure what the thermostat should be set at to stay comfortable and minimize energy use?

It seems like the answer would be very straightforward and simple. It’s easy to say set your thermostat at 78 degrees and you’re done. But in reality, the best home temperature during the summer really depends on the situation. In this post we’ll provide a breakdown of the ideal temperature range based on activity in the home. 

Ideal Summer Temperature Setting When You’re Home

The summer thermostat temperature for when you’re home will feel a little more comfortable than when you’re away. The general recommendation is to keep the temperature at 78 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re home. If you can increase the temperature a few degrees and remain comfortable go ahead and set the thermostat a little higher. 

Good to Know

When you set your thermostat over 72 degrees you’ll save energy. For every degree over 72 degrees you should save about 3% on your AC costs. 

Ideal Summer Temperature Setting When You’re Away for the Day

If you plan to be gone from your house for at least a few hours you can turn the heat up a little. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests increasing the temperature by 7-10 degrees when you’re away from home for the day. Using this temperature range for eight hours a day should reduce your electric bill by about 10%. 

Good to Know

Unlike the wintertime, there’s no risk of immediate home damage if it isn’t a certain temperature inside. The goal is to get the air inside as close to the temperature outside as possible. The closer you get it the less energy you’ll use.

Ideal Summer Temperature Setting When You’re Away for the Weekend

Many people take vacations during the summer, especially weekend trips. You can offset the cost of a weekend vacation by bumping the temperature up by 10+ degrees the entire time you’re gone. Even if the house is 90 degrees inside no one will be there to feel it, and you’ll have plenty of time to get the home cooled down before you get back. 

Good to Know

If you live in a hot climate, keep the temperature no higher than 85-90 degrees when you’re gone. Sustained sweltering heat inside and outside of the home could damage temperature-sensitive devices and appliances.

Ideal Summer Temperature Setting When You’re Asleep

In the 7-9 hours that we sleep every night (ideally) our core body temperature lowers. Researchers have discovered that the ideal temperature for sleeping is 86 degrees when a person is uncovered and undressed. It’s possible to remain comfortable at night with the temperature set to 80-82 degrees when you’re wearing light clothing to sleep and ditching the covers. 

This should definitely be a comfortable temperature range if your bedroom has a ceiling fan that can be used. You may even be able to raise the temperature over 82 degrees with the ceiling fan on. 

Good to Know

Many regions of the country get a reprieve from the heat at night. It might actually cool off enough at night to shut down the AC entirely and open the windows for airflow. 

Things to Keep in Mind When You’re Setting Your Thermostat

Below are a few more things to keep in mind no matter what the situation is or where you live. 

  • Make sure the thermostat is programmed correctly. Check out this guide on setting a thermostat in the summer.
  • Always consider potential health risks. You may need to keep the home cooler if you have elderly family members, a baby or someone with a health condition is living in the house.
  • Don’t forget about indoor plants. Some plants won’t do well in warmer temperatures. 
  • Program your thermostat to lower the temperature to 78 degrees 20-30 minutes before arriving home so it feels good inside without adjusting anything manually. 
  • Keep the indoor humidity in mind. You may need to use a dehumidifier during the summer. 

Get reliable electricity all summer long with a fixed-rate energy plan from Provider Power. We’re proud to be among the top-rate electricity suppliers in New England. Find out if Provider Power energy plans are available in your area. 

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