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Energy Tips

Texas summers are hot! It causes us to use more electricity than at any other time of the year. At AmeriPower we want you to lower your energy use as well as cut your costs for your power needs.   There are many things you can do to lower your home energy use — and your energy bills.

Thermostat Setting: In the summer, keep your thermostat set at 78 degrees F. In the winter, the recommended setting is 68 degrees F. For each degree below the recommended setting in the summer – or above the recommended setting in the winter – energy consumption increases by about 6 to 8 percent. Consider a programmable thermostat that raises or lowers the temperature by about 5 degrees when your home is unoccupied.

Air Conditioning: Adjust your air conditioner’s thermostat, and turn on a fan. As much as 60 to 70% of the energy consumed by most homes in the summer can be attributed to air conditioner use. For every degree below 78 degrees you set your air conditioner, your cooling costs may increase by up to 9%. If you turn on a fan, the room will feel 4 to 6 degrees cooler than the thermostat reading. With your thermostat set higher and use of a ceiling fan, you save money because most fans use about the same amount of energy as a 100-watt light bulb. Other things about your air conditioner that can be helpful area:

  • Clean and replace filters. Clean or replace air filters at least once a month. Dirty air filters make your heating and cooling system work harder than necessary.
  • Keep Area Around Air Conditioner Clean. Keep the area around your condenser (outside unit) free from trash, high grass and don't build a fence around it that will block free air flow.
  • Put unit in Shade if Possible. If possible locate condensers (outside air conditioning units) under shade trees or other shade. This will allow the unit to work more efficiently and use less energy.
  • Keep Coils Clean. Keep the air conditioning coils clean (condenser and evaporator) with regular servicing. Clean coils will keep the system at top efficiency and keep your energy costs low. Regular servicing will also extend the system life and detect problems early.
  • Set Thermostat.Set your thermostat at 78 in the summer and 68 in the winter. For each degree cooler in the summer or degree warmer in the winter, your energy use will increase by 6% or more. As an example, setting your thermostat at 72 degrees in the summer could increase your energy use by up to 36%.
  • Install a programmable thermostat.To help offset air conditioner use, replace your manual thermostat with a programmable model. When properly programmed, these thermostats can save you up to 15% in cooling costs. Programmable thermostats are more accurate than manual models and can be set to keep your house warmer during the day if you aren’t around. Another perk is that you can set your thermostat to automatically cool your house right before you get home.
  • Do not close off vents. If you have central air conditioning, you should not close off vents in unused rooms. It could cause leaks in your ductwork. If you have window units, closing off unused rooms will reduce cooling costs and provide more cooling to the used areas.
  • Purchase a Newer Model. Newer, high efficiency air-conditioning systems use much less energy, 30 to 40% less than older models for the same amount of running time. Installing a new, high efficiency system could pay for itself in energy savings in a very short time.
  • Check for Leaking Ductwork. Leakage in air conditioning ductwork in average 10 to 15 year old home is 15% to 25% of its heating and cooling airflow.

Ventilation: Ensure that your house is properly ventilated. Attic temperatures often reach 140 degrees in Texas during the summer, causing air conditioners to work harder. Proper attic ventilation can significantly reduce the costs associated with heating and cooling. We suggest continuous soffit and ridge venting when replacing roofing — they’re a cost-effective, energy-efficient improvement.

Light Bulbs: Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. While the up-front cost of compact fluorescent bulbs is a bit higher, over the long haul you’ll save money. Compact fluorescent bulbs use about one--fourth as much electricity as incandescent bulbs and last up to 9 years longer. The lower-wattage fluorescent will not only save you money and energy, but will also provide almost the same amount of light. Compact fluorescent lights emit hardly any heat compared to incandescent lighting.

Pool: Install an automatic timer on your pool pump. For pool owners, adding an automatic timer to your pool pump can help reduce energy use while making your life easier.

Attic:  Inadequate attic insulation can cost you as much as 40% of your cooling cost. The problem is worse in the winter because heat rises. As much as 60% of the evergy input to heat can be lost in the wintertime due to poor in poor insulation. More than 80% of houses built prior to 1980 lack adequate ceiling insulation. A home without proper insulation and weatherization can lose up to 40% of conditioned air. Attic insulation is easy to install and is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce energy usage. Other factors affecting your attic are as follows:

  • If your home is 10 to 15 years old home it probably has R-11 to R-15 insulation. It should have R-30 insulation and needs an additional 6 inches of insulation.
  • If you are reroofing your home, you should consider using roof decking with a foil backing (radiant barrier). This can reduce annual energy bills by 5%. Using a lighter color on the shingles can also save 5% to 10% on cooling bills.

Windows and Doors: Caulking around windows and weather stripping around doors is an excellent way to reduce heating and cooling costs. As much as 15% of your heating and cooling costs may be air leaking into or out of your home.  New, energy efficient windows have special coatings that block out 60% of the heat that is normally transmitted through the window while allowing light to pass through.  Adding storm windows and doors can reduce cooling or heating lost through single pane glass by 40%.

Refrigerator: A 10-year-old refrigerator uses up to 50% more energy than a new energy efficient model. Refrigerators and freezers are the third largest home energy users. Side-by-side refrigerators often use 40% more energy than refrigerators with a separate freezer on top or bottom. Automatic defrost freezers (frost free) use 40% more energy than freezers that must be manually defrosted. Thick frost makes the freezer work harder. Defrost (manual) freezers when the frost reaches a quarter inch thickness. Low temperature settings cause the refrigerator or freezer to run more than needed. Refrigerator temperature should be set at 36 to 38 degrees and the freezer temperature should be set at 0 to 5 degrees. A 10-degree lower temperature setting on the refrigerator can increase energy use by 20%. Make sure your refrigerator and freezer doors seals are in good condition. Test the seal with a sheet of paper by closing the door on the paper. If the paper falls out or pulls out easily, the door seal may need to be replaced.

Electricity is an important part of our lives. The computer you're using right now would be worthless without it. In fact, electricity is so easy to take for granted that we sometimes overlook the fact that we're still in the driver's seat when it comes to controlling the amount we use.