Reduce Energy Bills


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Increase your homeís energy efficiency and save up to 50% on energy costs

 

You can decrease your homeís energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by two different ways: decrease your usage of energy consuming devices or get newer more energy efficient products. The devices that use the most energy, listed from highest to lowest, are: heating systems, hot water heaters, refrigerators, clothes washers, other appliances, and lighting.

 

 

Heating & Air Conditioning

 

Home heating accounts for about 50% of the average BC homeís energy costs. Most furnaces over 10 years old are only 60-70% efficient. New standard efficiency furnaces are 80% efficient, and new high efficiency furnaces are 90-95% efficient. This means you should save 20-40% on heating costs when upgrading from an older unit to a new high efficiency system.

 

Heat pumps are a method of heating and cooling that is rapidly growing in popularity. An air source heat pump is similar to an air conditioner, but it can also run in reverse. Energy Star labeled heat pumps can cut a BC homeís heating costs in half when upgrading from an older furnace. They can also provide cooling in the summer.

 

While new heating and cooling equipment can save you a lot, you might not be in a position to make the substantial investment in one right now. Of course, you can always lower your thermostat for free, and reduce your heating costs as much as you want. Making sure your filters are clean can also save energy by ensuring that the fan motor does not have too hard of a time circulating the air.  Buying a programmable thermostat that can will automatically turn off or turn down your heating & cooling system while youíre at work or sleeping can be an inexpensive way to save a lot on heating.

 

 

Increasing insulation

 

Another way to reduce your climate control costs, especially your heating, is to increase your insulation. Weatherstripping (sealing cracks around doors, windows, and wherever else they exist) can be a fairly inexpensive way to decrease your heating costs. Very old and poorly sealed houses can save up to 40% on heating costs, for an investment of less than $500. You can even try to do some of this yourself.

 

Another do-it yourself project could be installing attic insulation. If you have a house over 20 years old you could save up to 20% on your heating costs by laying down a few hundred dollars worth of insulation yourself.

 

Spraying better insulation into your walls and installing new Energy Star windows can cut your energy costs by about 20% each. However, these are very expensive projects so it will probably take over 20 years for energy savings to earn back your investment.

 

 

Hot water heaters

 

The average home spends almost $300 a year running their hot water tank. Tankless  water heaters heat the water rather as you use it, so they donít store water which will lose heat through the insulation and up the chimney over time. Solar water heaters can save even more energy by obtaining more than half of their heat energy from the sun. Unfortunately, the high cost of these items means it can take over 20 years to regain your investment.

 

Lowering the temperature setting on your current hot water tank to 120-130F can help cut your water heating costs, although it cause the hot water to run out sooner. Installing low-flow showerheads can help prevent the tank from running out of water.

 

Refrigerator

 

The refrigerator is the next largest household consumer of energy. Newer Energy Star units use about half as much energy as older models, and they only cost a little bit more.

 

 

Clothes washing machine/ dishwasher

 

These appliances use a lot of hot water. New Energy Star models only use about half as much water as older models.

 

 

Television sets

 

Big screen flat panel TVís are becoming more and more popular. They are replacing refrigerators as the top consumer of electricity in many homes. If your buying one of these expensive TVís you probably arenít too worried about their power consumption, but you might want to take a note that plasma models use almost twice as much energy as LCD models.

 

TVís, stereo equipment, and computer monitors consume electricity even when they are turned off. Unplugging them after use or switching off their power bars can save you up to $50 on electricity annually.

 

 

Lighting

 

Youíve probably head that CFLs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and that while they cost a few times as much, they last for several times as long. They can save the average home about $50 a year. Still, most people donít use them, probably because they find their blue tinted light less comfortable than an incandescent bulbís yellow tinted light. Fortunately, new high efficiency incandescent bulbs and other bulb technologies to be released over the next few years promise the comfort of incandescent lighting with the efficiency of CFL lighting.