Saving money on your electric bill doesn’t have to be a huge challenge. Just take a few simple steps to manage your home’s energy use. Here are 10 suggestions to help you slash your electric bill:
1. Unplug all those appliances and electronics that you aren’t using or when you are gone. These actually drain power even when they are off! Even though this may not be a huge savings, everything helps. You can even buy smart power strips that turn off automatically so you don’t have to run around the house unplugging everything.
2. Turn your thermostat down to 68 degrees for the winter months when at home and lower 7 to 10 degrees when away or sleeping (per Honeywell instructions). If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, installing one is a great way to save money on your heating bill. If you are cold, only adjust your thermostat by 1 degree at a time so that your auxiliary heat doesn’t kick in. It takes a lot more energy and money to heat your home in the auxiliary or emergency heat mode. Click here: Honewell Tstat Energy-Saving Settings
3. If you have baseboard heat, turn the heaters off in the vacant rooms and close the doors. Or you may want to invest in a ductless mini split heating/cooling system. This system requires no demolition of your home, just an install of a heating/cooling wall unit(s). These ductless splits are far more energy efficient in heating your home, PLUS you get the added bonus of air conditioning for those hot summer months! You can save up to 60-70% on your utility bills.
4. Your heating system is the most expensive item to run in your home. So be sure to have your furnace cleaned every year for optimum performance and to lengthen the life of your system. Also, change your system’s filters on a regular basis. Having a dirty filter means your system has to work even harder costing you a lot more money.
5. When you have a forced air system, closing vents may not be the best solution to keep the costs down on your electric bill. Closing vents forces your system to work harder to push air through the system. It’s better to have more airflow in your home. Make sure there you don’t have furniture or other items blocking your registers.
6. Space heaters are expensive to run. If you need supplemental heat, isolate to one or two rooms by hanging up blankets, shutting doors, etc. to keep the heat in one area.
7. The second most expensive appliance to run in your home is the hot water heater. Make sure your hot water tank is well insulated. Keep the thermostat at 120 degrees or the low setting. Wash your clothes in cold water as much as possible. Don’t run half loads of laundry or dishes, wait until you have a full load and take shorter showers J. And if you want to make an investment, you can have a tankless water heater installed. These tankless water heaters provide only the water that is needed and doesn’t use energy keeping stored water warm. You will have the added benefit of continuous hot water, meaning you’ll never have a cold shower or bath again. You’ll save money on water, power to heat the water, and you’ll be helping the environment at the same time.
8. You may want to look into switching out your regular light bulbs to the Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). These bulbs consume 75% less power and last up to 10 times longer; however, they are a bit more expensive to buy upfront. Look for coupons or sales and contact your utility provider about possible rebates.
9. Replacing old appliances like refrigerators, microwaves, stoves, etc for more energy efficient appliances will save you money in the long run after the initial investment. Don’t move the old refrigerator or freezer to the garage and start using it because it can cost up to an additional $100 a month to run a non-efficient old appliance. As an added bonus, a lot of utility companies will offer rebates to consumers who swap out their old power hungry appliances for newer ones with better efficiency!
10. Make sure your home is properly sealed. Caulking around windows and doors will help keep the cold air outside, and insulated windows will keep the warm air inside. Be sure your attic, walls, crawl space, and ductwork are all well insulated for minimum heat loss and maximum heat gain.
Here’s to a happy, warm, efficient home!!!
The term “variable speed” means the furnace’s fan motor will move at different speeds to control air flow of heat and cool air throughout your home. Better air flow means a better balance of temperature and humidity in your home. Some of the pros of a variable-speed furnace are:
- Added Comfort: Regulates the air flow to provide better temperature control, humidity, air distribution, and even heat throughout the home all the time.
- More Efficiency: Performs better than a single-speed furnace and uses about 2/3 less energy. Typically, during cooling operation, variable-speed equipment results in a gain of efficiency of 1 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). The higher the SEER, the lower your utility bills will be.
- Less Sound: Has a sound-reducing design that slowly ramps up the speed as to not have a sudden blast of air at startup (kick-off) creating a lot of noise.
- Improve Indoor Air Quality: On the “fan” setting, the variable-speed furnace will slowly and inexpensively circulate air throughout your home allowing the filter to catch contaminants.
- Better Humidity Control: More effective at drawing out moisture from the air versus a single-speed furnace. When moisture levels are high like in our rainy state, there’s a potential for growth of mold, so it’s a good idea to have the air circulating for better air quality and comfort.
- Further Savings: A single-speed motor uses approximately 400 watts per hour to operate versus a variable-speed motor using 75 watts. So you could save a lot on your utility bills by choosing a variable-speed furnace for your home.
To sum it all up, a variable-speed furnace will add comfort to your home, be more efficient using less energy, have less sound which is a bonus, improve air quality in your home, have better humidity control, and further save you money on utility bills due to the watts per hour the motor uses. I choose Variable Speed, do you?
Pictured above: Amana Gas Furance 95% AFUE 90,000 BTU Variable Speed
A tune up is a really good cleaning on a heating/cooling system, a chance to make sure everything is connected properly, to check for safety issues with your system, and to ensure it is running at its maximum efficiency.
Each source (heat pump, furnace, air handler, air conditioner) has a different list of items to be cleaned and checked. We check everything from switches, valves, pressures, venting, ductwork, fuses, contactors, pump, drain, airflow, filters, etc. We clean the blower motor, burners, orifice pilot, coils, sand flame sensors, etc.
Here are a few items that can be corrected before a problem occurs:
- A lot of times the blower motor will have dust caked on it. You want your blower to be cleaned regularly so that your system doesn’t have to work as hard to run efficiently. Restricted airflow can reduce your system’s efficiency up to 15 percent. This will save you money on your utility bills and will prolong the life of the motor.
- Dirty coils can cause the system to run longer reducing the system’s ability to run properly.
- Plugged drain lines can cause water blockage and then can cause flooding damage in the house. It could affect indoor humidity with humidifiers.
- When parts are moving constantly and aren’t lubricated, this can cause friction in motors and increase the amount of energy your system uses. This also can wear on the motor and fail prematurely.
- Make sure you change your filters on a regular basis. Dirt can build up and then it restricts the airflow, which then effects the entire system and can shut itself off entirely.
Look how dirty this furnace is!
Look how clean this furnace is now!
So getting your system maintained on a regular basis not only saves you money on your utility bills and saves energy, it also prolongs the life of your system.
CLICK HERE for our web exclusive Tune-Up coupon.