Crawfordsville Electric Light & Power wants to remind you to beat the peak. As temperatures begin to spike, there are steps you can take to save money on energy bills this summer.
According to the Department of Energy, a typical home uses a whopping 48 percent of energy expenditures just on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system system. Although a majority of that 48 percent is spent on heating expenses, Americans still spend $29 billion every year to power their air conditioners.
Aside from replacing your central air conditioner with a newer, higher-efficiency model, there are some things you can do to increase efficiency, which can help reduce your energy bills.
Besides, weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors in your home (always a good idea regardless of the time of year), CEL&P and Safe Electricity offers the following tips:
• Close curtains, blinds and shades during the hottest part of the day. Not only is about one-third of a home’s energy lost around windows, but about 76 percent of sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters the home to become heat, according to energy.gov.
• If you don’t already have one, install a programmable or smart thermostat. You can save up to 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by adjusting your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for 8 hours a day, according to Energy.gov.
• Clean the filter and get your unit inspected by a HVAC professional.
• Consider changes to your landscaping. Greenery that includes shade trees and those that insulate the foundation can reduce energy costs.
• Ventilate the attic and check insulation. If your attic has less than 8 inches of insulation, consider adding more. By addressing air leaks around your home and adding insulation, homeowners can save around 10 percent annually on energy bills, according to energystar.gov.
• Get a pre-season checkup by a professional HVAC technician, which could help your air conditioner run more efficiently.
• Make sure your outdoor condenser unit is clean and free from debris. Ideally, the unit should be in the shade.
• Use your clothes dryer and oven during the cooler parts of the day.
Increased summer electric demand not only affects the monthly budget, but it can also seriously strain your home’s electrical system, which can create dangerous shock and fire hazards. Flickering or dimming lights or frequent circuit breaker trips are signs of an overloaded electrical system or faulty wiring that should be checked immediately by a qualified electrician.
For more information on electrical safety, go to celp.com and SafeElectricity.org.
This monthly guest column was provided by Crawfordsville Electric Light & Power.