Heating and Cooling
Cooling your home with air conditioning uses more energy dollars than any other appliance in your home, typically as much as 75% of your electric utility bill goes for cooling your home in the summer.The number one way you can reduce your energy cost is to replace your system if it is 10 years old or more, with an energy star system. This can reduce your energy cost by as much as 63% on the cooling side and high as 35% reduction on your heating cost, without sacrificing your comfort level. Of all the energy saving procedures you could implement this is by far the most cost effective. Right now the utilities companies are offering an added bonus, by reducing your kilowatt usage you may be eligible for the 20/20 discounted rate on your utility bill. (Contact one of our comfort specialist for a free in home energy survey and estimate on you personal savings.)In the cooling season, set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher when you’re at home. When you are away from home, set your air conditioner at 85 to 87 degrees or completely off if your not home for more than two days.Heating accounts for the biggest chunk of winter energy bills. Make sure your furnace receives a professional “tune-up” each year. Clean or replace air filters once a month to help your unit run more efficiently.Make sure you filter is clean and changed on a regular basis. Have preventive maintenance service twice a year to ensure your unit is running at peak efficiency. Make sure the service person washes out your condenser coil.Install a programmable thermostat. You can save as much as 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10% to 15% for 8 hours. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic set back thermostat.
Have your duct system checked by a qualified person for problems such as leaks and incorrect supply and return to make sure you are not heating or cooling your attic. (Duct repair or duct seal can save as much as 30%.)Make sure your supply registers are the correct type. Improper registers can make your system run longer and can cost you 5% on your cooling cost. (Call Econo-Air comfort consultant to advise.)Make sure your attic is well ventilated. A well-ventilated attic is as important as a well-insulated attic in the summer. Ventilating can lower the temperature in your attic as much as 40%. This can result in you’re A/C running as much as 10% to 15% less to maintain the temperature in the home. When your attic gets hot it can stay hot long after it cools down outside. It takes as long for your insulation to cool down as it took to heat it up. This is why you’re A/C is working sometimes long after it cools down outside. Insulate ceilings to R-30 standards, if your attic is less than R-19. Save up to 25% of energy used for heating. You can save more if you also insulate walls and duct work.Shade windows and walls outside home, especially on east and west sides of home. Having drapes and blinds is important, however, any shading you can do from outside is more effective. This will result in you’re A/C system running less and save you money.Plant trees or shrubbery to shade walls, and install awnings outside. Drop shades or sunscreens over windows.Use ceiling fans to circulate air in home. A constant air movement in home will increase your comfort level and may result in as much as a 2% adjustment in your thermostat setting and can be beneficial summer and winter.When replacing old windows buy high-performance ones. Look for NFRC label and choose a product with U-factor of .40 or lower and solar heat gain coefficient of .40 or lower and visible light transmittance of .60 or higher.Caulk around windows, doors, pipes and anywhere else air can leak in and out of the house. Use weather stripping around windows, doors and pipes.
Low Cost Home Improvement Actions
Install energy star labeled hardwired lighting fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms. Replace existing light bulbs with sub-compact fluorescent lamps (CFLS). You can save up to 75% on your lighting costs by converting to low-wattage bulbs/lamps and fixtures. They use a quarter of the energy of regular incandescent lighting.Replace hazardous halogen torchiere lamps with compact fluorescent torchieres.Use dimmer switches, timers or motion sensors on as many lights as practical.Plug gaps around pipes, fans, and vents that go through walls and floors from heated to unheated spaces.Run your system in fan on-mode on hot days when some one is home. When you have continuous air movement, you can normally feel comfortable at one or two degrees higher temperature setting. Some of the high efficient equipment on the market has a variable speed motors that pull as little as 85 watts when fan only is running.
Try not to use your heating and cooling system at night. Cover up in the winter or use ceiling fans in the summer or open windows.Turn off anything you’re not using. This includes all equipment and appliances such as lights, televisions, VCR’s, computers and computer monitors.When using the clothes washer and dryer, do only full loads. Wash in cold water. Clean the dryer lint trap after each use, or even better, line dry your clothes.Water heater: Lower the temperature to 120 degrees. If you have a dishwasher without its own heating element, set the temperature to 140 degrees. This will save you up to 7% to 11%. Only full loads in the dishwasher. Use the energy saver, air-dry cycle, or if allowed, open the door and let dishes dry naturally. Turn your water heater down as low as possible if you are not going to be home for two days or more. Wrap your water heater with a water heater blanket, especially if it’s in an unheated area. Wrap the tank and pipes for additional savings.Fix defective plumbing or dripping faucets. Water faucet drips cost energy and water loss up to 212 gallons a month.Install low flow showerheads; you’ll be surprised how much this simple device can cut your hot water costs.If you own a swimming pool, switch pool filter and sweeper operations to off-peak hours. (Peak hours are noon to 6 p.m.)Refrigerator: Give the unit breathing room, clean coils and don’t set the temperature to low. Fresh foods keep at 37% to 42%, frozen foods at 0% to 5%. Unplug and recycle your second refrigerator. If your refrigerator is ten or more years old consider replacing. Look for the energy star label when buying new.When using your oven to prepare meals, don’t preheat your oven. Try using a microwave or toaster oven for small meals. If you must use the oven, try cooking complete meals of several dishes simultaneously.Turn off your lights whenever they are not needed.Have your system serviced spring and fall to ensure it is working at peak efficiency. (Have service technician wash out your condenser coil on spring service.)
Cooler Tin In/Energy Saving Upgrades
If your unit is five to seven years old or newer and you don’t elect to replace it at this time you may want to consider incorporating an evaporative cooler into you’re A/C duct system. Typically a cooler operates for three to five times less to operate than your cooling system and can maintain the temperature comfort level in the home approximately 95 to 100 degrees depending on the humidity level outside.
Whole House Fans
Whole house fans do work, however, are not as effective in the greater Bakersfield area because outside temperatures do not drop down in the evening a great deal in the hot days and normally we are dealing with dry temperatures. Whole house fans are more effective in the surrounding areas of Kern County where the temperatures cool down more in the evening such as Tehachapi or Lake Isabella.
Portable A/C Units
If you have a certain situation where you would like to cool one room and have the flexibility to move a room A/C unit from room to room, this could be a big energy saver. Instead of cooling the whole house you just cool the room your using. These units can cool a large living room or a medium to large bedroom for approximately 15 cents per hour or 1200-watts per hour.
When you cozy up to a crackling fire on a cold winter day, you probably don’t realize that your fireplace is one of he most inefficient heat sources you can possible use. It literally sends your energy dollars right up the chimney along with volumes of warm air. A roaring fire can exhaust as much as 24,000 cubic feet of air per hour to the outside, which must be replaced by cold air coming into the house form the outside. Your heating system must warm up this air, which is then exhausted through your chimney. If you use you conventional fireplace while your central heating system is on, these tips can help reduce energy losses.
Advantage Of Zone Heating
Installing a wood, pellet or gas stove to heat your main living area instead of using your central system to heat the whole home can save you up to 50% on your heating cost and you can enjoy the fire.