If you were shocked (pun intended) when you opened your last electric bill…you are not alone. Prices are on the rise everywhere. From milk and eggs to a new car, and unfortunately, energy too.
So the question is posed…can I do something about this?
Some rising prices are basically out of our control. If you like a good western omelet but are not keen on raising your own chickens to produce the eggs, you are left paying the increased price for those eggs.
For many Pennsylvania homeowners electrical rates have nearly doubled in price over the past 2 years. In the summer of 2021, a Kilowatt of energy consumed by your home was likely billed at around 7.54 cents. Fast forward to the present day and you could easily be paying 14.5 cents per KW or more!
The bad news, is unless you have your own power generation, there isn’t much you can do about the price of the electricity outside of shopping for the best deal from places like https://www.papowerswitch.com/
The great news is there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your energy consumption. Some with little investment or effort, some with more. Generally, the bigger the investment the bigger the payback. That said, the return on investment for the bigger investments may be spread over a longer period of time.
Most of the quick hitters are free or have a low cost associated with them, but some effort is required. Most of these you already know with the main goal being to consume less energy.
- Turn the lights off when not needed
- Utilize the sun for lighting when possible
- In winter, open the blinds, in summer draw the blinds
- Turn the thermostat temperature back
- Take shorter showers
- Close the door when you go outside
Here are some ideas that we haven’t been hearing our entire lives.
- Don’t leave the bathroom or kitchen exhaust running longer than needed, once the job is done, turn it off. You’re pumping out the air you paid to heat. You can even have a timer installed for the bath exhaust to do this for you
- Don’t leave the garage door open, a cold garage creates extra work for the house
- Change your air filter often on heating and cooling systems, dirty filters cause a loss of efficiency
- Use cold water for the laundry
- If you haven’t at this point, change those light bulbs to LED’s, the price is now basically the same as the old style….Frankly, I don’t even know where you would get those old ones anymore
- Unplug devices not in use regularly, some things like tv’s use energy even when not in use
It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity… welcome to PA! Just like you know about a hot summer day the same goes for a properly humidified home. A dry home in the winter feels colder than a home with healthy humidification levels. If you have a humidifier use it. If you don’t, adding a whole-house humidifier can help save energy. When you increase the relative humidity in your home by 4% it feels the same as increasing the temp by 1 degree. If you decrease your thermostat setting by that one degree you can save up to 4% on your heating energy. So if you increase your RH by 16% you could save 16% on the heating bill. Generally for around $800 – $1500 a whole home humidifier install has great potential for return on investment as well as comfort.
Hybrid / Heat Pump Water Heaters – you have heard of heat pumps for heating and cooling the air, now they have used that technology to heat your hot water. Electric water heaters can account for approximately 20% of your home’s energy usage. Heat pump water heaters can produce your hot water heater 3 times more efficiently than a standard electric water heater. This means potential savings of $300 per more each year and as electric rates continue to increase, so do the benefits become more valuable. Return on investment vs standard electric water heater in as little as 3 years.
Geothermal Heat Pumps for central heating and cooling- heat pumps are great and I am a big fan of the traditional air-to-air heat pumps many homes have. If you have a newer system a standard heat pump can do a great job for you and your energy consumption. Geothermal systems however have the ability to blow away other systems in terms of energy usage. A properly installed geothermal system can reduce your heating energy costs by up to 44% over a standard heat pump and an astounding 72% over an electric baseboard. Geothermal systems also can save up to 35% in the cooling season and offer the ability to dehumidify at a higher level as well. These systems generally last years longer than other systems to further your ROI. Return on investment vs standard heating & cooling equipment in as little as 4 years.
While many systems with higher energy ratings have tax credits available, both hybrid water heaters and geothermal heat pumps have very large tax credit benefits. This paired with the increase in electric rates makes right now a great time to consider these investments.
Replace your old system – Regardless of what type of system you have or what kind of technology you can make an investment in, replacing an aging system is a great way to ensure trouble-free operation and reduce energy usage. Heating, Cooling, and Water Heater systems over 10 years old may be ready for an update. If you are unsure how well your system is doing, having maintenance performed by HB Home Service Team would be a great way to get started on evaluating the future of your home. Our team of highly trained technicians and consultants will ensure sure you have all the information you need to make the decisions that best fit.
While we couldn’t get your electric rates down, we hope that this information might help you keep more money in your pocket….or for milk.