Cutting Summer Home Energy Costs In Your Home

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Home Energy CostsThe summer is here and unless your entire home heating and cooling system runs on electricity, this is probably the most expensive time of the year for your energy bill as we all tend to crank up the air conditioning in order to survive the high temperatures and heat waves. However, there are several ways for you to keep your energy bill down while staying cool this summer.

Make sure your appliances are Energy Star compliant – Although the energy efficiency has increased dramatically among household appliances over the past 3 decades, there are still need for improvement. For example, a refrigerator from 1979 consumed anything between 120 and 300 kWh per month while a brand new refrigerator from 2012 requires between 40 and 60 kWh on a monthly basis. Next time you are shopping for an appliance make sure it is Energy Star approved. Besides saving you money on your monthly electric bill you still may qualify for some tax credit depending on where you reside.

Make sure you have energy-efficient lighting throughout your home – For a very long time incandescent was the only word for lighting. Then the compact fluorescent lights became very popular and now the latest technology in lighting is called LED (Light Emitting Diodes).  LED lighting is more cost-effective than compact fluorescent or incandescent ones and as time passes by and technology advances, LED will be the standard in energy efficient lighting. Although the initial cost of a LED bulb is far more expensive than a CFL one, the overall cost of lighting is still lower than its competitors. (See table below)

LED CFL Incandescent
Light bulb projected lifespan 50,000 hours 10,000 hours 1,200 hours
Watts per bulb (equiv. 60 watts) 10 14 60
Cost per bulb $35.95 $3.95 $1.25
KWh of electricity used over 50K hours 300-500 700 3,000
Cost of electricity (@ 0.10per KWh) $50 $70 $300
Bulbs needed for 50k hours of use 1 5 42
Equivalent 50k hours bulb expense $35.95 $19.75 $52.50
Total cost for 50k hours $85.75 $89.75 $352.50

Stop leaving in a fridge and get a digital thermostat – Depending on where you live and the age of your home, your heating and cooling system can be responsible for up to 56 percent of the energy used in your home. Even though many people prefer cooler temperatures, setting up your thermostat to 75F can feel pretty cool especially when the outdoor temperature is over 90F. Besides that, if you spend most of your day away from your home, get a digital thermostat that allows you to program it in a way to drop the temperature 30 minutes prior your arrival. This way you can save up to 10 percent on your yearly bill as your air conditioning won’t be working to keep an occupied room cool.

Take shorter showers, not baths – Hot water heating is one of the major uses of energy in any home so, instead of taking baths, prefer showers, shorter ones. According to a study performed by the American Water Works Association Water Research Foundation the average person showers for 8.2 minutes, using 17.2 gallons of water. Furthermore, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a faucet running for five minutes uses about as much energy as keeping a 60-watt light bulb on for 14 hours. So taking shorter showers is the way to go. It will not only save money on your utility bills, but also help with both water and energy conservation since it takes energy to pump and heat the water and later clean it at a water treatment facility.

Protect your windows – Based on a publication from the U.S. Department of Energy solar heat gain through windows accounts for up to one-third of the cooling costs in a building. Solar screens and window film are the most popular options to control such heat gain, reduce electric bills, and save energy. Designed to block harmful rays and reduces glare, both solar screen and film will prevent furniture and carpet from fading, as well as stop UV rays from penetrating the glass. Furthermore, while increasing energy efficiency, those screens can block up to 75% of the heat coming through your windows, cutting the electricity bill to about 20-30 percent without reducing your visibility.

Don’t forget the basics  It might sound obvious, but you will be surprised on how many people forget to check their doors and windows. By replacing drafty windows and doors with energy efficient ones, you will bring down your energy bill considerably.