Energy Savings

Learn the Do’s and Don’ts of Saving Energy

  • Don’t let the furnace or air conditioner salesperson sell you a unit that’s much bigger than you need.
  • Do have the air ducts checked for leakage when installing a new heating and cooling system.
  • Don’t think that “since heat rises, we only need to insulate the attic.” The floors over a basement or crawlspace, walls and windows also matter.
  • Do use ceiling and portable fans to improve comfort in the cooling season. They use very little electricity and efficiently circulate air in the house. To make the house feel cooler by doing this, you can raise the thermostat setting for your air conditioner to 85F, and still maintain the same comfort as the lower setting.

Electricity Consumption – Discover the biggest users of your home’s electricity

Air Conditioning

If your home has central air conditioning, the air conditioner will most likely be the biggest user of your electricity. While it’s used only a few months a year, the annual cost of air conditioning can be much higher than the annual cost of your refrigerator, which is typically the next largest user.

In hot climates, the annual cost of air conditioning can exceed a thousand dollars. To get a rough idea of what your air conditioning costs are, do the following:

  1. Get your electric bill for a summer month when you use air conditioning.
  2. Get your electric bill in a spring month when you aren’t using air conditioning.
  3. Subtract the spring month bill from the summer month bill—this will give you your monthly cost.
  4. Multiply your monthly cost by the number of months you use your air conditioner. The answer will be your approximate annual cost for air conditioning.

Learn the Factors That Influence Your Energy Bills

Many factors can cause differences in energy bills, so comparing your bill to someone else’s is like comparing apples to oranges.

For example, the ages of your major appliances—especially refrigerators and air conditioners—can make a dramatic difference in your bill.

In addition, if your house leaks air like a sieve while your neighbor’s house was just weatherized and insulated, you will have much higher heating and cooling bills.

Other factors that can result in significant differences in bills are the number and kinds of lighting fixtures, thermostat settings for heating and cooling, the number of loads of laundry, old refrigerators out in the garage, and hobbies which result in electricity use.

Have an older home? Find out whether you should insulate or replace your furnace

Here’s how to decide whether you should insulate or replace your furnace. First, take a look at the situation in your house. Factors that will influence your decision are the age and efficiency of your furnace, and the amount of insulation currently present in the house.

Insulation is More Cost-Effective

In general, it is more cost-effective to upgrade insulation than it is to upgrade your furnace.

Older Furnaces are Worth Replacing

However, if your furnace is old and you are planning on replacing it, you might want to upgrade the furnace.

The average lifetime for a furnace is between 15 and 20 years. The efficiency of furnaces has increased over the years, so the older a furnace is, the more likely it will be inefficient.

The average efficiency of new furnaces has increased from 63% in 1972 to 98% in 2012.

Older furnaces, and furnaces which are used a lot are more cost-effective to replace than newer or infrequently used furnaces.

Insulating and Replacing the Furnace is Also Smart

Also, if you insulate your house at the time of furnace replacement, you might be able to buy a smaller capacity furnace and save money on the price. The same holds true for A/C and other heating and cooling equipment.