Are you paying too much for electricity?
January 13, 2012
For the fifth-consecutive year, home energy bills rose above the inflation rate. The USA TODAY reports that this, the longest sustained rate increase since the 1970s, amounts to a $300 hike in the average annual American electric bill. Researchers found that greater household energy use coupled with rate increases are driving up our bills.
A local contractor can help you evaluate your existing home energy systems. In the meantime, here are six ways you can cut your electric costs in the New Year:
- Install energy efficient windows. Windows are heat-gain and heat-loss holes to the outdoors. You can lose up to 30 percent of your heating and cooling out poorly insulated windows.
- Conduct an energy assessment. An experienced contractor can evaluate your home for air leaks, lighting use (especially if you still have incandescent bulbs), and your existing insulation.
- Program your thermostat. Don't heat or cool your home when you're not away. New generation thermostats can even be activated remotely by computer or cell phone.
- Investigate time-of-use plans. Many utility companies offer lower rates for energy used during off-peak hours. If you sign up, be sure there isn't a price penalty for using electricity during peak hours.
- Fine-tune your HVAC. Have a certified technician inspect and tweak your furnace system for operating efficiency. Leaking ducts can raise your bills by as much as 20 percent.
- Consider new window treatments. Hanging thick drapes or curtains in the winter will conserve heat, while using shutters and blinds in the summer protect against heat gain.
An experienced contractor may have other suggestions to tighten your energy use before bills rise again.