As you gear up for summer, are you also gearing up for a higher utility bill? Most Central Texans see our energy costs rise right along with the temperatures, as we spend more money keeping our homes cool during the sultry summer days. To help balance out your increased AC costs, here are a few other areas Austin electricians recommend you look at to cut down your overall bill. Read on to discover what our residential electricians suggest.
Buy Better Bulbs
Toss those old incandescents in favor of CFLs or LEDs. About 5% of your total energy bill goes to lighting your home, so using energy-efficient bulbs is a great way to cut costs quickly. CFLs use about a quarter of the energy of traditional bulbs and last 10 times longer. LEDs use as little as 20% of the energy of incandescents and last up to 25 times longer. While the initial cost of these bulbs is higher, the savings over time makes them well worth the expense. To get the most bang for your buck, electricians recommend replacing your five most-used bulbs now and continuing to replace the others as they burn out.
You’ve Got the Power
Did you know many of your home electronics are sucking energy all day long, even when they’re turned off? Seventy-five percent of the electricity used by TVs, computers, stereos, and many kitchen appliances is consumed when they’re just sitting there. Cut down these costs by plugging what you can into power strips and then turning those power strips off. Don’t worry — your new TV has a memory chip that will reset your preferences when you power up again. Cutting the power to these “energy vampires” can save you $100 a year.
Is Your Refrigerator Running?
Three guesses as to which kitchen appliance uses more energy than all the others combined. Luckily, there are several things you can do to keep your fridge running at prime efficiency. First, keep the coils clean. Twice a year, grab a coil brush (available at your local hardware store) and use it to remove built up dust and dirt. This will increase efficiency by 30-50%. Also, keep your fridge and freezer full — the food acts as insulation and reduces energy costs. You can also check the seal of your refrigerator door by closing a dollar bill in the door. If you can easily pull it out, the seal needs to be replaced.
There’s an App for That
There are currently a number of different android and iphone apps out there that will help track your energy use and point you towards additional savings. We’ll break them down in detail in a future post, but to get started, we recommend checking out Kill-Ur-Watts, developed by the Department of Energy to provide personalized, long-term strategies for reducing consumption.
Just the Beginning
More energy saving tips will be coming your way in future posts. In the meantime, if you see a spike in energy costs that seems out of the ordinary, be sure to contact your local Austin electrician. A residential electrician can give your home a full inspection to quickly spot and repair any major issues, providing you peace of mind and keeping that electrical bill in check.