Power Plays to Save You Money
As the weather cools off, your electric bill is hopefully going down since cooling needs are dropping. But that doesn’t mean that the season for saving on your electricity is over. Here are some easy and inexpensive tips to help save some power.
Change the Thermostat
The idea of reducing your thermostat setting during the day to save money is a popular one. However, you need to be aware that a dramatic difference won’t help as much as you might think. It takes too long to get back to a comfortable temperature and wastes energy. Heat pumps have special restrictions. It is best to set them at a reasonable temperature all the time, or a specialty programmable thermostat can be installed.
A temperature difference of 7-10 degrees when you are gone results in an average savings of 10% a year. This is especially true in milder climates; in colder areas it might not be as helpful.
Maintain the Furnace
A well-maintained furnace will work more efficiently, saving you money in both the short and long term. In the short run you should see lower bills, and in the long run you’ll need fewer repairs. Changing the air filters regularly will also keep the system running more efficiently. An older system doesn’t work well with the newest technology in filters, they cut the airflow too much, making it work harder. Use a basic filter and change it frequently and your furnace will stay cleaner and work better.
In the summer everyone keeps the blinds closed against the sun, in the winter you should open them up. Passive solar heating can help if you remember to open the blinds on south and west facing windows on sunny days. It can increase solar gain by 40% over closed blinds. Just be sure to close them back up as the sun goes down.
If you are landscaping, use deciduous trees to shade the south and west side, then in winter you will automatically get sun through the bare branches when they drop their leaves. Heavy curtains will insulate against the heat in summer and cold in winter, so use them wherever you can.
Air leaks around windows, doors, outlets and holes around plumbing are a big source of lost heat. A gap of only 1/8” under an exterior door is the equivalent of a 2.4” hole in the wall. To put that in perspective, it’s a hole about the size of the doorknob hole in a door! Sealing the gaps will go a long way to reducing heat loss (and A/C in the summer) and will save you money. A door sweep is easy to install and can be purchased for around ten dollars for a typical 36” door. You can cover windows with a shrink wrap system in extremely drafty cases, or apply new weather stripping.
For more detailed information, here is an infographic from The Washington Post that covers all of this.
It seems silly to remind you, but turn off the lights when you leave the room, but the savings can add up over time. Fluorescent bulbs are best turned off if you will be out of the room for 15 or more minutes to conserve their lifespan, but incandescent, halogen and LED lights should be turned off each time you leave. With LED lights, motion detectors and timers work especially well since the bulb’s lifespan isn’t affected by powering on and off.
To save even more on your electric bill if you live in Texas, contact Billcutterz. We are experts at getting you the best deals on electricity and power!