About half of your electric bill goes to heating or cooling the air inside your home. Make the most of your investment in comfort by keeping that conditioned air inside your home or reducing the thermostat a few degrees with some helpful tips from Jackson EMC.
MONEY SAVING ADVICE
Jackson EMC is a good resource to use in your energy planning. We can show you specific ways to reduce your energy consumption, and in turn, your electric bill. In your planning, you need to consider
1) the energy efficiency of your home’s structure;
2) the equipment and appliances within;
3) the habits and lifestyles of your family members.
By practicing some simple energy conservation techniques, you can lower your monthly bill. Savings can be accomplished by reducing either the wattage or the length of time that you use an appliance.
Concentrate your conservation efforts on the three biggest energy users:
MAINTAINING YOUR HEATING & COOLING EQUIPMENT
Seal Ductwork. Leaky ductwork often accounts for as much as 30% of total heating and cooling costs. If the leakage is 20% of the total airflow, the efficiency of the cooling system can drop by as much as 50%. Seal ducts permanently with mastic or a rated metal duct tape used primarily for areas around the unit needing access from time to time, such as the filter rack. First, seal the bigger holes and high-pressure areas such as the air handler cabinet, plenums, and take-offs. Next, seal elbows, ductwork joints, and boots.
Clean and/or replace air filters every one or two months. Dirty or clogged air filters restrict airflow and cause your compressor to work harder, increasing costs.
Ensure proper airflow to indoor supply and return vents and around your outdoor unit.
Do not block indoor supply and return vents with furniture or other objects. Keep the outdoor unit free of leaves, grass, shrubs, snow, or anything else that can block airflow. At least six feet of space above and two to three feet of space around the outdoor unit is required.
Call a trained heating and air conditioning professional for a routine performance check each year.
SAVING ON WATER HEATING COST
Check the efficiency of your water heater and consider replacing an old, inefficient water heater with a new high-efficiency model. A high insulation R-value in the tank wall is one thing to shop for in addition to longer warranties – 10 years and up.
Insulate your older electric water heater. Newer, high-efficiency models do not require insulation wraps.
Check hot water temperature. Set the water heater thermostat to no higher than 120°F if you do not have a dishwasher or if your dishwasher has a heating element; 140°F if your dishwasher does not have a heating element.
Repair leaky faucets and pipes. Little drips add up. A hot water faucet that drips once per second will waste 2,300 gallons of water per year plus the electricity used to heat it.
Insulate hot water pipes.
Use cold water or warm water for laundry and household cleaning.
Install water flow restrictors and low-flow showerheads that will reduce the amount of hot water needed. Low-flow showerheads release two to three gallons per minute as opposed to five to six gallons per minute from conventional showerheads.
Centrally locate the water heater to areas of greatest use like the kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms.
SAVE MORE BY INSPECTING THE “THERMAL ENVELOPE”
Check Attic Insulation. With proper insulation in your attic, your savings in air conditioning and heating costs will often cover the expense of your investment in insulation. An attic insulation value of R-30 will help achieve greater comfort while lowering heating and cooling bills.
Check your insulation to ensure a blown-in fiberglass depth of 12”-14”, a blown-in cellulose depth of 8”-9”, or a batt depth of at least 10”.
Never let storage items compress insulation.
Check for proper ventilation in attics and crawl spaces, which reduces moisture build-up in the summer and winter.
Caulk and weatherstrip around door and window frames. Caulk and seal cracks and penetrations on the exterior or interior of the home, especially plumbing penetrations.
Install an airtight seal on basement doors leading into the house to prevent air penetration.
In the winter, use the fireplace sparingly. It draws your home’s heated air up the chimney.
Be sure the damper is closed when the fireplace is not in use.
Use glass fireplace doors to help reduce air infiltration.
Make certain the floor above your basement or crawl space is well insulated. An insulation value in the floor of R-19 will help achieve greater comfort while lowering heating bills. Make certain fiberglass is facing out.
Install insulated foam gaskets under electric outlets and light switch plate covers to reduce air infiltration.
Use a spray foam sealant to seal holes around pipes in bathrooms and kitchen cabinets.
Reduce heat transfer from the attic by placing a batt of insulation over whole-house fans when not in use, and installing a hatch cover over the pull down stairs.
GOOD CONSERVATION HABITS
Turn off lights, appliances, and tools when not in use.
Set thermostat at 78° in summer. Lower settings will increase operating costs approximately 5% for every degree below 78°. If you’re going to be away from home, set your thermostat even higher.
Set thermostat at 68° in winter. As a rule of thumb, your heating cost will increase 3% for each degree above 68°.
Use shades, blinds or curtains to your advantage. In the summer, tilt blinds up to divert heat away. In the winter, keep curtains open and tilt blinds down to let the sun and warmth in, close them at night to prevent heat loss.
Use fluorescent lighting wherever possible. Fluorescent lights not only provide more light than incandescent bulbs, they emit less heat for your air conditioner to cool.
Reduce operating time of air conditioning unit by using the dishwasher and stove during the cooler evening hours.
Operate ceiling fans during the cooling season to increase your comfort level if you select a higher, more energy-efficient thermostat setting.
Do not place lamps or other heat producing appliances near the thermostat.
Install programmable thermostats to achieve energy savings in the summer and winter. If you have a heat pump, ask your heating and air conditioning professional for a programmable thermostat especially designed for these units.
For customers with heat pumps. In the winter, nighttime setbacks and frequent thermostat changes will increase energy costs and are not recommended. Programmable thermostats especially designed for heat pumps permit setbacks without increasing operating costs.
Set the thermostat to emergency heat only in the event the heat pump is not working. Because
emergency heat costs nearly twice as much to operate as the heat pump during normal operation, it should not be used except in the case of system failure while awaiting repairs. If you have a heat pump, ask for our Heat Pumps Made Easy brochure for additional information.
TIPS FOR BUYING NEW EQUIPMENT
Check the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (S.E.E.R.) when you buy. The S.E.E.R. is the ratio of the total cooling provided during the season to the total energy consumed by the air conditioner or heat pump. The higher the S.E.E.R. the more efficient the air conditioner, and the less energy it will take to cool your home. These savings can partially offset the cost of new equipment within a few years. The size and construction of your house will determine the size of the unit you need.
Check the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (H.S.P.F.) when you buy an electric heat pump. The H.S.P.F. is the ratio of the total heat provided during the heating season to the total energy consumed by the heat pump. The higher the H.S.P.F., the more efficient the electric heat pump. Replacing an older heating and air conditioning system with a new high-efficiency electric heat pump can, in many cases, reduce your heating bill by as much as half. The high efficiency heat pump can also reduce your cooling bills and make your home more comfortable.
Replace your air conditioner with an energy efficiency heat pump. If you have a gas furnace, a new electric heat pump will work with it to keep you comfortable year-round. The high-efficiency heat pump cools your home in the summer just like an air conditioner. In the winter, it heats your home with outside temperatures as low as 32°F. Below 32°F, your gas furnace will provide supplemental heat.
HOW MUCH ELECTRICITY APPLIANCES USE
KITCHEN APPLIANCES (per year)
Dishwasher = $ 39.24
Range with Oven = $ 93.90
Freezer – Upright, Manual Defrost = $ 92.56
Freezer – Chest, Manual Defrost = $ 74.34
Freezer – Upright, Frost Free = $ 220.11
Microwave Oven = $ 16.09
Refrigerator = $ 121.47
Toaster Oven = $ 35.62
LAUNDRY (per year, family of 4)
Clothes Washer = $ 10.31
Clothes Dryer = $ 195.33
Iron = $ 16.55
Electric Water Heater = $ 409.97
COMFORT CONDITIONING (per year)
Ceiling Fan = $ 9.11
Dehumidifier = $ 274.41
Waterbed = $ 123.17
Whole House Fan = $ 151.84
Window Fan = $ 36.44
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS (per year)
Annual kWh Annual Cost
Color TV = $ 41.91
Computer = $ 38.26
Plasma TV = $ 72.80
Stereo = $ 13.36
VCR/DVD = $ 9.72
MISCELLANEOUS (per year)
Clock Radio = $ 7.29
Curling Iron = $ 0.25
Electric Blanket (8 hours/day) = $ 42.52
Hair Dryer = $ 9.11
Vacuum Cleaner = $ 2.96
18-Watt Compact Fluorescent = $ 3.28
100-Watt Light Bulb = $ 18.22
Usage adopted from Apogee Interactive, Inc. These figures are based on standard usage and standard wattage calculations. If you’d like to enter more specific numbers for your home, please visit http://www.jacksonemc.com/guides.
Note: Appliance Energy-Use Calculators can only compute approximate energy-use values. This is due to varying conditions of climate location, actual versus run watts, “hidden” loads, and use patterns that change from day-to-day within any given home. Not all appliances actually go “off” when turned off. These “hidden” loads are appliances that, when turned “off”, still use power (timer, clock, remote control, etc.), even though they appear to be off or not in use. These “hidden” loads are included where typically applicable.