Saving Money is a Breeze!
For the past few months, I have noticed a trend with my Georgia Power bill- It keeps going up! I’m not the only one experiencing this either. If you are looking for some ways to see a difference and keep your wallet a little fatter, check out some suggestions for simple ways to save your cents. ENERGY STAR estimates that a knowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% on their total annual energy bill) by sealing and insulating.
Many air leaks and drafts – like those around windows and doors – are easy to find because they are easy to feel. But holes hidden in attics, basements, and crawlspaces are usually bigger problems. Sealing these leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a great impact on improving your comfort and reducing utility bills.
Did You Know?
The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills – nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. Homeowners can save about $180 a year by properly setting their programmable thermostats and maintaining those settings. When I first bought my house, I made sure that I had a programmable thermostat. However, I later found out that I was not optimizing my saving because of that temperatures I programmed the thermostat to, actually caused it to work harder. Thus, I was not saving $$$
Proper Use Guidelines for Programmable Thermostats (from Energy Star)
Through proper use of a programmable thermostat (using the four pre-programmed settings) you can save about $180* every year in energy costs.
Rules of Thumb for Proper Use:
Keep the temperature set at its energy savings set-points for long periods of time (at least eight hours), for example, during the day, when no one is at home, and through the night, after bedtime.
All thermostats let you temporarily make an area warmer or cooler, without erasing the pre-set programming. This override is cancelled automatically at the next program period. You use more energy (and end up paying more on energy bills) if you consistently “hold” or over-ride the pre-programmed settings.
Units typically have two types of hold features: (a) hold/permanent/vacation; (b) temporary. Avoid using the hold/permanent/vacation feature to manage day to day temperature settings. “Hold” or “vacation” features are best when you’re planning to be away for an extended period. Set this feature at a constant, efficient temperature (i.e. several degrees warmer temperature in summer, several degrees cooler during winter), when going away for the weekend or on vacation. You’ll waste energy and money if you leave the “hold” feature at the comfort setting while you’re away.
Cranking your unit up to 90 degrees or down to 40 degrees, for example, will not heat or cool your house any faster. Most thermostats begin to heat or cool at a set time, to reach setpoint temperatures sometime thereafter. Units with adaptive (smart/intelligent) recovery features are an exception to this rule — Adaptive recovery units are constantly calculating the amount of time required to heat or cool the house, so that it reaches that temperature when the homeowner programmed it. By “examining” the performance of the past few days the thermostat can keep track of the seasons. In this way, your house is always at the comfort levels when occupied, but saving the most energy when unoccupied.
Many homes use just one thermostat to control the whole house. If your home has multiple heating or cooling zones, you’ll need a programmed setback thermostat for each zone to maximize comfort, convenience and energy savings throughout the house.
If your programmable thermostat runs on batteries, don’t forget to change the batteries each year. Some units will indicate when batteries must be changed.
*The $180 savings assumes a typical, single-family home with a 10 hour daytime setback of 8° F in winter and setup of 7° F in summer, and an 8 hour nighttime setback of 8° F in winter and a setup of 4° F in summer.
Change to compact florescent light bulbs. They provide bright warm light while using 75% less energy than standard lighting – they also generate 75% less heat and last up to 10 times longer. Replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 23-watt compact fluorescent bulb can save you up to $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Learn more about ENERGY STAR lighting products.
Use a power strip as a central “turn off” point when you are done using equipment. Even when turned off, electronic and IT equipment often use a small amount of electricity. U.S. households spend approximately $100 per year to power devices while they are in a low power mode, roughly 8 percent of household electricity costs. Using a power strip for your computer and all peripheral equipment allows you to completely disconnect the power supply from the power source, eliminating standby power consumption.
I was watching The View not too long ago, and they had a surge protector that had a timer on it. The timer turns the outlet off after a pre-selected time. According to the show, charging your cell phone and other electronic devices overnight kills the battery. The power strip with the timer will not only save you on energy cost, but will also lengthen the life of your electronic devices.