If you’ve ever had sticker shock from your power bill, you’re not alone. One of the first places we usually look when a power bill makes a big jump is our appliances. It just makes sense that the equipment with the heaviest power cords and the highest temperatures will be the big consumers of electricity.
What can you do to take some of the sting out of that monthly delivery? While it’s not necessary to resort to obsessive thermostat management or draconian bathing policies, you can do yourself a lot of good on the power bill with some simple changes.
Start on the bill itself. You can actually choose power in Texas because residents there are in a deregulated electricity market, meaning they can shop around for different providers and find the best rate for their power needs.
After that, it’s time to take a long, critical look at appliances and decide what you can do to make them ask for a little less of your power supply.
Investing In Upgrades
As a rule, all older appliances are less efficient than more modern models. It can be tough to think about replacing an appliance that seems to be working fine, but just because it doesn’t need repairs doesn’t mean it isn’t costing you money. Even the slightest improvement in energy efficiency can really pay off, especially with items like refrigerators, which are plugged in and running at all times.
Many utility companies provide incentives for replacing outdated equipment. Once you add up those premiums along with the energy savings from your new equipment, you may find the upgrade to be much more affordable than you first thought. And if you’re considering replacing an appliance that has already required repairs or is in need of work right now, the decision becomes very easy.
Once you have an efficient appliance, you need to use it efficiently. Kids have a bad habit of opening the refrigerator and staring inside for long periods, convinced that their ideal snack is hiding somewhere in there. Teach your kids (and the adults) to be quick in their examination of the fridge, and do your part by trying to organize it in such a way that frequently-used items are clearly in view.
Clothes dryers play a big part here as well. While some items do need to be dried all the way, others can be given a few minutes in the dryer then quickly hung up to air-dry. It also helps set the dryer for shorter periods and check the progress of drying, rather than simply maxing out the timer and wasting energy on clothes that are already dry.
Heating and cooling can be reduced to small spaces if part of the house isn’t in use. A rare hot summer night in a cool northern climate might best be managed with smaller air conditioners instead of a central unit. The opposite is true of heat in the south.
The final side of the triangle is equipment maintenance. Efficient design and efficient use are wasted if good maintenance isn’t done.
Dust is the enemy of almost every appliance. Anything with an electric motor probably has some form of ventilation holes or even a fan to help keep the motor cool. The hotter that motor runs, the more electricity the appliance uses. Dust can clog the ventilation openings, clutter up cooling fans, and impede the cooling process. The same is true for furnace filters.
Air circulation is important too. Appliances should be installed based on manufacturer recommendations for air clearance beside and above the units, to ensure sufficient air flow for peak performance.
Big energy bills can really wreck your budget. Like any other expenditure, they can be managed to reduce the cost to your family with some careful research and a good examination of the true costs.
Categories: Real Estate
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