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7 Steps to a Lower Electric Bill

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Posted February 8, 2013

If you live in the greater Houston TX area, your heating and air conditioning costs probably account for over half of your electric bill. The air conditioner is the biggest energy consumer in any household. Running an air conditioner for an hour uses approximately 10 times the electricity as running a refrigerator with the door open for an hour. When it comes to energy consumption, your HVAC system is a major player.

Reduce energy costsby making a few behavioral changes and few additions to your HVAC system. These seven steps will help you reduce energy use and lower your Houston, TX electric bill.

  1. Keep Your Filters Clean – One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to lower your electric bill is to keep your HVAC filters clean. Change the filter every 30 days to keep the air flowing freely to your unit, whether you are running the heat or the AC. Your air conditioner and electric furnace use more electricity to condition the air when the filter is clogged. Keep your filters clean and reduce the energy cost to condition the air in your home.
  2. Install a Programmable Thermostat – A programmable digital thermostat puts you in control of your home’s climate at all times. A programmable thermostat has several presets that you can use to program your system. For example, you can program an “Away” temperature for times when the house is empty. If everyone is at work or school during the weekdays, you can program the “Away” mode to five to seven degrees warmer. You can even program the AC to turn completely off when no one is home. Use the programmable thermostat to set a lower static temperature for nighttime during the winter. You can program the device to warm the house just before people arise to start their day.
  3. Schedule an Energy Audit for Your Home – An energy audit is a procedure performed on your home by a certified energy auditor to locate areas where your home is leaking air. Energy auditors use various methods to identify cracks, leaks and places where air seepage is occurring. The more leaks and cracks a home has, the more money is wasted through loss of conditioned air through the breaches. During an energy audit, the auditor will ask about the energy use in the home. The auditor will also review your utility bill with you. The energy auditor will then provide suggestions for conserving energy based on the lifestyle of the home. Having an audit and repairing the leaks and cracks once they are identified will help you conserve energy and will lower your electric bill.
  4. How Insulated Is Your Home? – Insulation in your home is important for keeping your energy bills as low as possible. A well insulated home will contain the conditioned air for a longer period of time than a drafty, poorly insulated home. The more conditioned air you can keep inside your home, the less you will pay to heat and cool the home. You can always improve the insulating material in your home. Insulating material can be installed on top of existing material to improve heat resistance. If you already have R-15 insulation installed, and you install another layer of R-15 on top of the existing layer, your area is now has an R-Value of R-30. This means that your insulation is now twice as effective at resisting heat than with only one layer installed. Ensure your home is well-insulated to save money on energy.
  5. Consider A High Efficiency Air Conditioning System – HVAC equipment has a life cycle. At some point, you will probably replace your HVAC system. When you are considering a new system, consider an energy efficient system. Because your AC system uses more energy than any other home appliance, consider an energy efficient AC unit, or a unit with energy saving features, when you replace your existing system.  A standard efficiency AC unit sold today must have a SEER rating of no less than 13. However, energy efficient models are available with SEERs in the mid-twenties. A highly efficient AC unit will cost more than a standard efficiency unit. However, the more efficient the unit, the more energy you will conserve and the more you will save on your electric bill.
  6. Keep Your HVAC System Well Maintained – A well-maintained HVAC system is more efficient than a system that is poorly maintained. Just like tuning up your vehicle keeps your car running well, your heating and air conditioning system needs regular tune ups, too. Your furnace should be tuned prior to the heating season, and your AC system should be tuned in the Spring. Your HVAC technician will inspect and tune your unit to prepare for the season. Schedule an annual a tune up for your system to ensure the unit continues to keep your home comfortable while keeping your electric bill manageable.
  7. Install Ceiling Fans – Installing ceiling fans will lower your energy use by circulating the conditioned air and creating a breeze. Many people ask HVAC professionals about whether ceiling fans use a lot of electricity. The cost of electricity to run a ceiling fan is about 1 percent of the cost of running the air conditioning. Ceiling fans will make the air feel cooler in the summertime and can reduce use of the AC unit.  Reverse the direction of the blades in the winter to recirculate warm air that has risen up to the ceiling.

For more answers to how you can lower your electric bill call  Air Specialist. Air Specialist serves the greater Houston TX area with heating and air conditioning service.


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