News Briefs

Slam the door on scammers by being a cautious consumer

    Don’t be tricked into paying a bill you don’t owe. Phony debt collection attempts rank among the most…

Mississippians shine when it comes to charitable giving

    Mississippians dig deeper in their pockets when it comes to giving. We always rank high in national surveys…

Of memories and thanksgiving

We are always reminded to “live in the moment” and “make the most of each day.” And, that is certainly…

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Fasten your seat belts; we’re heading into a hot summer

    May’s weather was kind to Mississippi this year, although farmers in some areas didn’t appreciate the abundant rainfall so soon after planting.
    Most of us enjoyed an extended spring. Several cold fronts swept through, leaving sunny skies and keeping temperatures below the 90s. The nights were cool too. If only it would continue.
    More typical summer weather will settle in this month. Many hot, humid days are ahead and probably won’t let up until mid-September. I hope our air conditioners can hang in there.
    Extreme heat is tough on the home budget too. A home without adequate insulation and energy-efficient appliances and windows will use a great deal more electricity to maintain the same comfort level as one that does. Simple changes in daily habits will help reduce a home’s energy use, however.
    Those living in rental properties have fewer options for improving the energy efficiency of their homes, but there are things they can do as well.
    Here are some suggestions for any home:
    • Your cooling system is the No. 1 user of electricity in the summer. Raising the thermostat as high as you can stand it will have the biggest impact on your power bill. Start by setting it at 78 degrees F, and rely more on ceiling or portable fans to cool your skin and circulate the air. They use much less energy than air conditioning.
    • Change (or clean) your air conditioner’s filter often, about once a month—more frequently if you have indoor pets. A clean filter allows your air conditioner to run far more efficiently and with less wear-and-tear on the compressor.
    • Keep in mind that hot water use is another major contributor to your power bill. Plan to take shorter showers and wash laundry in cold water.
    • Wait until evening, when temperatures drop, to turn on the dishwasher, stove, oven or clothes dryer. Open the dishwasher to let dishes air dry, and set the clothes dryer to low. Better yet, use a clothesline to dry laundry.
    • Use the microwave more. It can provide the most efficient way to cook single food items without the heat. A microwave uses lower wattage to operate and can cut cook time in half.
    • Enjoy no-cook meals centered on salads, sandwiches or fruits.
    • Plan for leftovers of foods that require boiling water or a hot oven. If you cook eggs, pasta or rice, cook extra for use another day. Same with baked potatoes; throw a few more into the oven to make potato salad or mashed potatoes later.
    • Use the toaster oven, slow cooker and pressure cooker instead of the oven. These handy appliances use less energy and generate less heat than a standard oven.
    • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Incandescent light bulbs give off 90 percent of their energy as heat, not light. That’s lost energy! CFLs and LEDs cost more but they give off no heat, last far longer and use way less energy. To identify high-quality bulbs with the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that carry the ENERGY STAR label.
    • Reduce the moisture in your home by running exhaust fans while bathing or cooking. Reducing the humidity level in the home will make the air feel cooler and help prevent mold growth.
    When you use less electricity, your power bill drops. It’s as simple as that. To find more ways to save, go to

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