Member Matters: Reduce and Save
By Jay Nunley
TCEC Key Accounts and Energy Use Coordinator
More and more people are looking for ways to save money on necessities. One way to save money is to reduce your energy use, which will lower your bills.
The typical single-family home spends $2,060 a year on energy, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
More than 40 percent of that $2,060 goes toward heating and cooling costs. In the ‘shoulder’ months like April and May, your bill is usually lower. In the warmer or colder months, it is usually higher. It really depends on the outdoor temperature and what you set your indoor thermostat to. As summer approaches and we start running our air conditioners, I’d like to share a few ways you can prepare your home and lower your bills.
Start with your thermostat
You can save as much as 10 percent per year on cooling by turning your thermostat up 7°–10°F for 8 hours or more a day in the spring and summer. Programmable and smart thermostats make this easy but you can do it manually too. Set your thermostat as high as is comfortable when you’re home and awake in the summer, and raise the temperature when you’re sleeping or away from home.
Additional cooling tips
- Clean or replace filters on air conditioners once a month or as recommended.
- Except for fans that are designed for continuous operation, 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.
- Turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room.
- Set the fan switch on your thermostat to “Auto” unless an indoor air quality professional has set up your system to operate continuously for health reasons.
- During summer, keep the window coverings closed during the day to block the sun’s heat.
Sealing air leaks and adding insulation saves energy and can also improve the comfort of your home. One of the greatest sources of energy loss in a home is air leaks. To weatherize your home, identify air leaks around doors, windows and outlets. Then do the following:
- Apply weatherstripping to gaps in doors and windows.
- Caulk air leaks around window trims, baseboards and other places where air may leak out.
- Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
- Use foam sealant on larger gaps around plumbing, ducting, or where electrical wiring comes through top and sole plates in walls, floors and ceilings.
- Check for open fireplace dampers and make sure they properly close.
Air ducts are one of the most important systems in your home, as they carry the air from your home’s furnace and central air conditioner to each room. If the ducts are poorly sized, poorly sealed, or poorly insulated, they are likely contributing to higher energy bills. Talk to a qualified professional to make changes or repairs to your air ducts.
Most of the tips I’ve offered are from energysavers.gov. We also offer energy saving tips at tcec.coop. If you have questions regarding your bill or how to save energy, please call TCEC during regular business hours at 580.652.2418 or email member service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Jay Nunley, TCEC Key Accounts and Energy Use Coordinator
Published May 31, 2018