Let’s say you’d like to be able to lower your Texas electric rate in 24 hours without having to use anything more complicated than a screw driver and (maybe) a power drill.
Balderdash and piffle!
It’s simple. Here’s how you can do it.
1: Save money by swapping out the incandescent bulbs in the light fixtures you use most often with energy efficient lamps like compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs. CFl’s use only 25% of the electricity used by incandescents, give off a fraction of the heat, and last longer. LED bulbs are a little more efficient but they give off virtually no heat and some can last up to 30 years.
2: You can save up to $180/year by installing a programmable thermostat. This is REAL easy because for most thermostat connections, there are only 4 screws. Write down the wire connections from your current thermostat on a piece of paper and take it with you to the homecenter to make sure you are getting a compatible thermostat. Take your new one home and following the instructions to connect your new thermostat. You might need the power drill only to put in new mounting screws. If you already have a programmable thermostat, raise the AC temperature 2 degrees during the day while you are away and also at night when you are asleep. You won’t notice the change much but your electric bill will.
3: Save money by killing energy vampires! When you turn off your TV are you sure it’s off? Chances are that since it has a remote control it has only gone into a standby mode. That means, it’s still sucking electricity from the outlet and adding to your Texas electric rate. Do you leave you computer on in sleep mode? It’s still on and using electricity. Do you leave your cell phone or mp3 player chargers plugged into the wall? They are all still ON. You can control these energy vampires. Unplug battery chargers when they are not being used. Turn off you computers and peripherals if you will be away from them for 30 minutes or more. Buy a smart power strip to shut down the power to your TV and home theatre equipment when you are away or asleep.
4: Air-seal your home and change the air filter. Leaky air ducts increase your HVAC costs by 20%. You can save money and energy by finding the leaks and sealing them with aluminum duct tape (grey vinyl stuff is cheaper but heat dries out the adhesive until it crumbles). Also, seal any holes or gaps in the metal duct work you find with silicone caulk. Dirty air filters also make your HVAC system work harder. Make sure you replace or clean your filter every three months. Remember to seal your drafty doors and windows. If you can close a piece of tissue paper in a door and pull it free without it tearing then that door needs weather stripping. Check your windows to be sure they close snuggly. If they have glazing, check to be sure it is firm and not crumbling or flaking. If it is, remove the loose bits and seal over it with silicone caulk. Also use expandable foam to seal any holes where wires or pipes enter or leave the living space of your home. For more common draft zones, check out Increase Energy Efficiency by Insulating Your Home.
5: Install a vapor barrier in your crawl space to save money on your homes cooling. Many Texas homes are built with crawlspaces underneath them. Installing a vapor barrier here will reduce the amount of moisture from the earth that enters your home and adds to your heat load in the summer. Sounds complicated? It’s not. A vapor barrier is just a sheet of 8 mil thick plastic laid over the dirt from wall to wall inside the crawl space. Rolls of this kind of plastic are available at home centers with 8′ x 100′ rolls costing about $45. Once in place, you’ll notice that your home feels drier in 24 hours.
6: Insulate water heater and hot water pipes to save money on hot water. Tank style water heaters use around 18% of your home’s energy. The way to reduce your water heating costs is to insulate it with a water heater jacket. Typical water heater jackets are 1 inch thick fiberglass blankets that you wrap around your hot water heater. (Remember to NEVER COVER the top of the water heater nor any of the controls due fire hazard.) Add foam insulation to your hot water pipes to keep that water warm for longer. That way, you’ll use less water, spend less time waiting for hot water, and spend less money heating water.
About Bounce Energy
Thanks so much to Bounce Energy for providing this money saving advice and being a sponsor of She is Dallas.