Has Your Electric Bill Been High This Summer in Brookfield?
Lately, we've heard many Brookfield area residents lament that they are experiencing an increase in their electricity bills.
There are ways to help your bank account and reduce that bill by making your home more energy efficient. As an added bonus, these steps protect the environment as well!
Based on national averages from the U.S. Department of Energy, utility bills are result of the following usages.
44% from heating and cooling a home
33% from lighting, cooking and other appliances
14% from water heating
9% from the refrigerator alone
Many utility companies conduct energy audits for free or for a nominal charge, so you can see where your heating or cooling systems may be costing you money. An audit might come with a recommendation for a new heating system or upgrade with energy efficient appliances, which will pay off in the long run.
There are some inexpensive actions that can be taken as well to reduce energy consumption.
- Have your ducts inspected. Many duct systems are not simulated properly and are not energy efficient. This is especially true within the attic or vented crawl spaces of the home, so sealing these ducts and insulating them is an easy repair. Also, closing vents and radiators in rooms that are not occupied can save up to 20% in heating and cooling costs. Keep in mind that you don’t want to keep the vents closed during extreme temperatures or you can risk your pipes freezing.
- Take advantage of the heat from the sun. In the winter, open window shades on the southern and eastern windows during the day and close them when the sun goes down to keep the heat from escaping. Doing the opposite during warm months will keep your home cool.
- Install a programmable thermostat to lower the heat when you are sleeping or the house is unoccupied. This can save up to 10% on your energy costs.
- Carefully choose the settings on your appliances. Switching the temperature setting on your washing machine from hot to warm can cut a load's energy use in half. Also, consider your appliance placement. Having your refrigerator adjacent to your stove will increase energy consumption.
- Change out your lightbulbs with energy efficient bulbs. The Newer LED lightbulbs are dimmable and have a soft glow that is similar to incandescent bulbs. Ultra efficient LED technology can save up to $140 over bulb life.
- Check your electronics. Turn off computer monitors overnight- they use 50% of the system's energy. Unplug battery chargers when not in use- they consume energy even when they aren't charging a device.
- Turn off the lights! Yes we've all heard this our whole lives but it truly does save energy and you money!
- Plant a tree. Not only does this make your yard look beautiful and give us oxygen, the shade is a fantastic way to cool your home in the summer months. Trees to the east and west of the house provide summer shading, while the area to the south of the house should be left relatively clear in order to allow solar heating in winter