10 Ways to Cut Utility Billscomments (1) April 19th, 2010 in Blogs
Here's a ten-step program that's guaranteed to reduce your utility costs.
The steps are not set in stone; every house is different, and different climates may dictate different strategies, which will be determined as soon as you take the first step.
1. Get a home energy audit
Before beginning any energy retrofit work, have a home energy audit done to identify and prioritize problem areas.
A good home energy audit always includes a blower-door test. To be sure your auditor is well trained, choose one certified by RESNET or BPI.
The audit can cost as much as $600. Subsidies are available from some utilities and local governments, so check there first.
Why spend money on an energy audit?
- When considering energy retrofit work, most homeowners prioritize the wrong steps. An energy audit provides valuable information to counterbalance misleading advertising pitches for worthless products.
- Your audit is likely to reveal unseen defects in your home — for example, thermal bypasses (air leaks) through convoluted, hidden chases, or insulation gaps revealed by an infrared camera.
- At the end of your audit, you’ll receive a customized list of the most important energy retrofit steps for your house — a list that may differ from your assumptions (or even from the recommendations of the energy conservation pyramid).
- By identifying the most important retrofit tasks for your specific house, a good audit can save you hundreds of dollars that might have been wasted on inappropriate work.
2. Unplug and turn off
This step, though obvious, is often neglected: turn things off.
Inattention and laziness are responsible for a significant amount of energy waste; this step off can yield significant savings for a very small investment. To lower your electric bill:
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
- Turn off appliances that aren’t being used.
- When not in use, unplug chargers for cell phones and similar battery-operated gadgets.
- Put televisions and other “instant on” appliances on a plug strip — and remember to turn off the plug strip when the appliance isn’t in use.
3. Use efficent light bulbs
The next step is very cost-effective: make sure your house is incandescent-free. Since most LED lamps are still less efficient than CFLs — and far more expensive — CFLs are still the best lamp for most fixtures.
For kitchens and basements, consider installing fixtures that use efficient linear fluorescent tubes (T5 or T8 tubes).
posted in: Blogs, energy efficiency, green building, remodeling, insulation, weatherizing
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