Every home or business owner has asked himself that question at least once in their lives. “Why is my electric bill so high?”. The answer is almost always the same, they are either heating or cooling their home excessively or inefficiently.

Temperature control accounts for about half of the energy consumption in an average American home. That means that Air conditioners and boilers are probably responsible for fifty cents of every dollar in your energy bill.

Living in a comfortable temperature is going to be expensive no matter what you do, but there are things that you can do to help lower that bill. The first thing you can do is use the sun to help heat up your home. Always open your blinds and shades to let sunlight in during the winter months. It may seem inconsequential but it really does help.

The opposite applies during the summer months, keep your blinds closed, and if you can install cellular blinds.

Cellular blinds use air pockets inside their honeycomb design to help insulate your home from the outside world’s temperature. Installing them can reduce the heat transfer from your windows by up to 50%.

Efficiency is key.

An important thing to keep in mind is efficiency. Keeping your environmental control devices running at top efficiency should be your first priority when trying to bring the electric bill down. That means that you have to make sure filters are clean, the radiators aren’t clogged or obstructed in any way.

Make sure both your AC and your furnace are serviced and tuned by a professional at least once a year. More often than that if you have hair pets running around your home or business.

Also, try to set realistic temperature goals. Setting your AC to 64 during the height of summer means it will never stop working. It will be stuck striving to achieve the impossible goal you’ve set for it. Setting it to 76 or 78 will allow it to turn off periodically, which can save a considerable amount of energy.

You can also help by choosing the right heating system for your home’s climate. Depending on your situation, a gas furnace may be a better option than a heat pump, but that might not always be the case.

As a general rule of thumb, gas furnaces are usually better in colder regions where the winters are more extreme. Heat pumps are just as, if not more efficient in milder winters. They also offer the benefit of not having to install gas lines to operate them and they are safer since you don’t need to continually monitor CO emissions like you have to with gas furnaces.

Gas, on the other hand, is usually cheaper than electricity, even if the installation cost is usually higher. So it is important that you choose the right system for your location and the right size for your space as well.

If you are looking for professional boiler rooms and want help deciding which would work better for business, we would be happy to help you find the one that would work best for you.

To make your home or office energy efficient without investing too much, you’d better follow these recommendations made by the US Department of Energy.

Thermostat Operation

You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by simply resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from home. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

You save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home.

In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and setting the thermostat to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling.

Ducts

Ducts that leak heated air into unheated spaces can add hundreds of dollars a year to your heating and cooling bills, but you can reduce that loss by sealing and insulating your ducts. Insulating ducts in unconditioned spaces is usually very cost-effective. 

Cooling

  • Set your programmable thermostat as high as is comfortable in the summer and raise the setpoint when you’re sleeping or away from home.
  • Clean or replace filters on air conditioners once a month or as recommended.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you have cooked or bathed; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  • During summer, keep the window coverings closed during the day to block the sun’s heat.
  • Select energy-efficient products when you buy new cooling equipment.

Heating

  • Set your programmable thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and lower the setpoint when you’re sleeping or away from home.
  • Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as recommended.
  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they are not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
  • Eliminate trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if unsure about how to perform this task, contact a professional.
  • Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  • During winter, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
  • Select energy-efficient products when you buy new heating equipment.

Water Heating

Water heating accounts for about 18% of your home’s energy use. Reducing your hot water use, employing energy-saving strategies, and choosing an energy-efficient water heater for your home pool can help you reduce your monthly water heating bills.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters, provide hot water only as it is needed. They don’t produce the standby energy losses associated with storage water heaters, which can save you money. 

Solar

Solar water heaters — also called solar domestic hot water systems — can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use — sunshine — is free.

Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which do not.

Reduce Hot Water Use

You can lower your water heating costs by using and wasting less hot water in your home. Water heating is the second-largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 18% of your utility bill after heating and cooling. To conserve hot water, you can fix leaks, install low-flow fixtures, and purchase an energy-efficient dishwasher and clothes washer.

Lower Water Heater Temperature

Some manufacturers set water heater thermostats at 140ºF, most households usually only require them to be set at 120ºF, which also slows mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes. Water heated at 140ºF also poses a safety hazard—scalding.

Conclusion

Following these simple recommendations issued by the US Department of Energy will save you money and make your home or office more efficient. If you are interested in further exploring any of the aspects discussed here, please contact us here.

Sources: Us Department of Energy