Friday, May 16, 2014

10 Ways to Save Electricity this Summer

As they travel around the Piedmont of North Carolina performing electrical services, Beco electricians are often asked by customers “How can I save money on my electrical bill during the hot summer?”

Turns out there are several things homeowners can do to shave dollars and cents off of their electric bill. Here are our top ten energy-saving suggestions for Triad homeowners:

1. Turn Up Your Thermostat – For every degree that you turn up your thermostat above 72 degrees, you will save from 1 to 3% on your electricity bill. When you are away for the day or longer, turn your thermostat up to 85 degrees. For convenience, you can install at “thinking” thermostat that learns your life patterns and automatically adjusts the thermostat accordingly.
2. Turn Off the Energy “Vampires” – Many household electronics still consume small amounts of energy even when turned off. Combined, all of these electronics add up to higher cost. Unplug electronic devices and chargers when they aren’t in use, and turn computers and printers off at the power strip.
3. Use Ceiling Fans Properly – Ceiling fans help to circulate air within the home, bringing the ambient temperature down. The cooling “wind chill” effect on skin can make a room feel up to 8 degrees cooler. In the summer, make sure that your fan blades are turning counterclockwise in order to create a downdraft of cooler air.
4. Replace Air Conditioner Filters – Dirty filters in HVAC and window units make those systems work harder to pull air through by restricting airflow, requiring more electricity. Replace filters often and as recommended by the manufacturer of your system.
5. Install an Attic Fan – Properly installed attic fans will cool hot attics by drawing in cooler outside air from attic vents and pushing hot air to the outside. However, if your attic has blocked vents and is not well sealed from the rest of the house, attic fans will suck cool conditioned air up out of the house and into the attic. Beco offers a SolarAttic Fan that runs on solar power and may qualify for tax incentives.
6. Use ENERGY STAR® Products - Whenever replacing an appliance, lamps, light bulbs, or other electrical device, look for the ENERGY STAR logo on products you buy. These products are specifically designed to use less energy to perform the same job, thus reducing your electric bill.
7. Plug Your Homes Leaks and Seal Ducts – As cooled air escapes, even the smallest leak in a home can waste electricity. Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers. Leaking ductwork accounts for 25 percent of cooling costs in an average home, so have your ducts tested and have any leaks or restrictions repaired by a qualified contractor.
8. Air Dry Dishes and Clothes When Possible - Turn off the dry cycle on your dishwasher and allow the dishes to air-dry instead. Line dry clothes whenever the weather allows.
9. Operate Swimming Pools Efficiently – Consider reducing the operating time of your pool filter and automatic cleaning sweep to four to five hours, and only during off-peak times. Always check with manufacturers recommendations for operation.
10. Get Outside! – Its summer, after all! More time spent out-of-doors conditions our bodies to tolerate higher temperatures,so slightly higher settings on your thermostat will feel cooler when you are used to the heat. Pools are a great way to cool off in the hot of the day, and activity promotes greater circulation and health.
The electrical professionals at Beco are happy to consult with Triad homeowners to keep their electricity costs down during the summer and all year round.


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