Save on Heating & Cooling
Heating and air conditioning can account for 45 percent of energy usage. A significant source of heat-gain in the summer and heat-loss during the winter months is the windows. Applying heat blocking window film, available at hardware stores, can be done quickly and inexpensively. This film reduces up to 70 percent of window heat entry in the summer without blocking the view and its low e-coating helps to retain heat in the winter. It also blocks UV rays to protect your furnishings from fading.
Programmable thermostat controls are small investments for big returns. They will automatically adjust the interior heating or cooling usage to avoid excessive use when you aren’t at home. They are easily installed so renters can take advantage of them and even take the thermostat with them when they move, simply re-installing the older unit.
Ceiling fans or box fans help to reduce the use of air conditioning by keeping the space feeling cooler. With a fan moving the air, 78 degrees will feel like 72 degrees. During much of the summer, even in warmer climates, a fan in the bedroom can allow the air conditioning to be turned off completely at night, for considerable savings. Likewise, in winter, a space heater can offer the comfort you need where you need it without having to heat the entire home or apartment.
Many use air conditioning when fresh air and a fan will provide adequate comfort. During the evenings and mornings when the outdoor temperature is in the 70s or lows 80s, turn off the air conditioner.
Savings: Using 2.5-ton central air conditioning 24 hours a day costs about $260 a month. A 48" ceiling fan costs about $3 a month to operate 12 hours a day. Using central air conditioning only 12 hours a day with the addition of three fans at night in three rooms will cost about $139 a month for a savings of $121 a month in energy costs.
The water heater accounts for an average of 13 percent of home energy usage. To save in your water heating costs, invest in an inexpensive timer that turns off your electric water heater at night when you don’t need hot water. This can save over $150 a month for the average home at the rate of $0.10 per kwh. It doesn’t work well for gas water heaters due to the pilot lights, unfortunately.
Most water heaters are set at a temperature of 140 degrees, which is unnecessarily high for most. You can save between 3 percent and 5 percent of water heating energy costs with each 10 degree reduction in the water temperature. Reduce the temperature to 120 degrees, entirely adequate for most households, to save up to 10 percent of the cost.
Savings: An electric water heater costs about $283 a month to operate at 140 degrees. Reducing the temperature to 120 degrees will save between $17 and $28 per month.