Energy Guzzlers: Your Home’s Big Three

It may feel like a lifetime ago, but there was a time when the electric bill
was referred to as the light bill. Those were the days when electricity was
used mainly for lighting because there were few other appliances in the home
that consumed a lot of energy.  Not so today. There are too many conveniences
that we have come to depend upon that make our lives easier.

green energy lightbulbHowever, the price we pay for these modern-day conveniences comes in the form of an electric bill that seems to get higher every year. Part of that is the  age we live in; fossil fuels cost more today than they did even just a few  years ago. But the other reason is that we are simply using more electricity  than ever before.

The biggest energy user is our heating and cooling system.   In fact, in warmer climates, air conditioning alone typically accounts  for more than half of a household’s total electric bill. Both your heating  and cooling units have “lifespans” and if your home is creeping up on 10 years  or more, you may want to consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient one. Although the investment of a new system can seem (at first) difficult to swallow, over time, the energy (and money) you save with a more efficient  unit will exceed the up-front costs.

If you decide to invest in a new furnace and/or air conditioner, consult
with a professional. Not only will they be able to properly size the system
to your house, but they will also be able to address any “cold or hot spots”
in your house and make those fixes at the same time as the install. Remember,
it isn’t just about conserving your energy bill, it is just as important to
keep your family comfortable, too.

Another way to conserve energy is by installing a programmable thermostat.
The thermostat can be specifically programmed to fit your family’s lifestyle.
During the weekdays, you may have one routine that you program (so you are
not excessively heating or cooling your home when no one is home)
while you may select a different program when you are home on the weekends.
This is also handy to have when you are away on vacation. You can set it
more appropriately when you are gone and then set it to return to “normal”
when you are scheduled to return home. Again, these little
tricks will conserve energy and save you money over time.

Another electric guzzler is the electric water heater.
A traditional tank, whether it is gas or electric, keeps the entire
tank of water heated 24/7/365 whether you use the water or not. Today,
there are several alternatives to the traditional model. Tank-less water
heaters are available and can be installed for the entire house or smaller
on-demand models can be installed under the kitchen sink, for
example.

Other options for water heaters include high-efficiency gas water
heaters, such as A.O. Smith’s Vertex™ which provides continuous
hot water shower after shower. There are also solar water heater
options.

Refrigerator and freezers are both guilty of guzzling electricity,
especially if it was manufactured before 2001. Be sure to replace your old model  with a more energy efficient one by looking for the Energy Star® label.  Top freezers use less energy than the side-by-side or bottom models. Save even  more energy if you can skip the ice maker and dispenser.

Summit Design Remodeling is a design/build home remodeling company serving
Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland. For information and our
photo gallery go to: http://summitdesignremodeling.com

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