How to Save on Energy Usage at Home
News of El Paso Electric's pending rate increase has some of us wondering how we can save money on our energy usage at home Some of the best energy saving tactics are the ones that don’t require any sacrifice, like turning off the lights when you leave the room. Turning off computers and electronics when not in use. But lighting and your computer don't account for up to 48 percent of home energy consumption — heating and cooling does, according to the Department of Energy. So if you’re looking for a place to make painless cuts, start at your cooling and heating system.
The Department of Energy estimates savings of about 1 percent for each degree of thermostat adjustment per 8 hours, and recommends turning thermostats back 7 to 10 degrees from their normal settings for 8 hours per day to achieve annual savings of up to 10%. However, according to the laws of thermodynamics, a home loses its conditioned air faster when the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures is greater. In our mild days, this gives you a lot of bang for your buck when adjusting your thermostat for savings. In extreme heat like ours, it can be much harder to hold on to that conditioned indoor air. Do know if you turn the thermostat way up while you are gone to work, in our heat everything in the home will get hotter so getting to that desired temperature once you are home may take a little longer.
What also affects your HVAC system’s energy savings?
While turning your thermostat up or down by a degree is effective, predicting your exact energy savings is much more complicated. That’s because there are 4 major factors at play besides your thermostat setting:
- Your HVAC equipment:Not all furnaces and air conditioners are created equal, and while all new systems meet minimum efficiency standards, some are far more efficient than others. You know this by the SEER rating or percentage of efficiency…the higher the SEER, the more you’ll save on utility bills. Multi-stage equipment is also a factor. A multi stage furnace will “step up” to the amount of heating you need versus a furnace that is either off or on.
- Your system’s condition:If you don’t get your heating and cooling equipment tuned up every year, it can cost you dearly in system efficiency. Even a well-maintained system will gradually lose efficiency with age. Change your filters regularly, service your system semi-annually and replace it when its age starts to cost you money in frequent repairs.
- Your system’s size:Heaters and air conditioners should be matched to home size. Too big, and the systems will cycle on and off constantly in an energy-wasting process called “short cycling”. Too small, and they’ll run more often than they should. Size really does matter!
- Your home envelope:Windows, insulation and weather stripping are just a few of the elements that make up your home envelope. Adjusting your thermostat isn’t enough to make up for a drafty home.
With a high efficiency Carrier premium HVAC system, you can save a lot on your energy bills. Call Total Air today for a new system estimate. Financing with low monthly payments is available.