Electricity provides necessities and luxuries that certainly add to the quality of our lives. However, carelessness with electricity can unfortunately result in burns, injuries or even death.
Central Georgia EMC will assist you with your energy planning. You can also work with our on-line energy library. We can show you specific ways to reduce your energy consumption to help lower your monthly electric bill. Your energy planning considerations should include: (1) the energy efficiency of your home's structure; (2) the equipment and appliances used; and (3) the lifestyle habits of the family. By practicing simple energy conservation measures you can lower your monthly bill. Savings can be accomplished by reducing either the wattage or the length of time that you operate an appliance. Concentrate your efforts on the three biggest energy users: heating, cooling and water heating.
Insulate. With proper insulation in your attic, walls and floor area, your savings in cooling and heating costs will often help cover the expense of your investment in insulation. Check SEER of equipment. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is the ratio of the cooling capacity to unit wattage for a cooling season. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the air conditioning. The size and construction of your home will determine the size unit you need.
Set temperature at 78°F. If you're going to be away from home, set your thermostat to a higher setting or, if practical, turn it off completely for longer periods away.
Keep equipment clean. Clean and/or replace air filters every month. Dirty filters or items placed too near airflow vents make your unit work harder.
Insulate. Proper insulation will pay for itself in heating your home as well as cooling. Since hot air rises, the greatest heat loss is through the ceiling. Insulating the floor of your attic will make a big difference in savings and comfort. Storm windows, storm doors, weatherstripping and caulking will also help keep the warm air in. If you have a fireplace, close the damper when not in use.
Set your thermostat on the lowest setting at which you feel most comfortable. A setting of 68°F is recommended. As a rule of thumb, your heating cost will increase 3% for each degree above 68°F.
If you have an older system, consider replacing it with one of the new high efficiency heat pumps. In many cases, the heat pump can reduce your heating bill by as much as one-half.
You can take the following measures to increase the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning system. You can also check out many of our other energy saving tips like our Beating the Heat, Energy Efficiency and your Kitchen, Air Infiltration tips , or on-line Audit tool. We continue to update this section to help our current and future members, so check back often and help us help you cut the cost of heating and cooling your home. If you have any questions or comments, please call us at our convenient local office (770) 775-7857 or at 1-800-222-4877!
- Close drapes or blinds on windows during the summer months.
- Run kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans only as long as necessary.
- Do not place heat-producing appliances near the thermostat.
- Keep fireplace dampers closed when not in use.
- Close doors to storage rooms without vents to eliminate heating or cooling extra space.
- Check the filter at least monthly during the heating and cooling seasons.
- Keep furniture and other objects away from the supply and return vents.
- The three most important things to remember for lowering your utility costs and creating a more comfortable house are air filtration, air filtration and - you guessed it - air filtration. If you add up all the cracks, crevices and gaps where air can get into your home, it would be like having a door open all year long. . . Close the door!
- When in doubt, caulk it! Use high quality silicone caulk around doors, windows and other places where building materials are connected.
- Eliminate moisture problems. If you have a crawl space under your home, roll-out thick sheets of plastic across the dirt. In the attic, make sure there is adequate ventilation to let moisture escape. When moisture builds up in your basement or attic, it can destroy the effectiveness of your insulation.
- Duct leakage is a major problem in almost every home. Flex duct should be replaced with hard metal duct. All duct work should be sealed with a mastic paste and insulated. Duct tape should really be called temporary tape because it does not permanently seal duct work.
- In the summer, your attic can reach 140 degrees, so get the duct work out of there! This may not be practical in an older home, but if you are building a new home, insist that the duct work be placed in a conditioned space - a basement or crawl space.
- CGEMC prefers wet blown cellulose insulation. We believe it performs better than other types of insulation. Why? Cellulose forms an air tight barrier, it is sound proof and roach proof. In existing homes, it can be blown over fiberglass insulation in attics.
- If you have an electric water heater, wrap it with a water heater jacket. If the water heater rests on a concrete slab, place a 2 inch insulation board underneath - there is no reason to heat your slab!
- If you are building a new home or remodeling, choose insulated windows with low-e glass. Windows are wonderful to look through, but they can really increase your energy bills. Also, the glassed area of your exterior wall should not exceed 15 percent of the exterior wall.
- Geothermal Systems are 400 percent more energy efficient than traditional furnaces or air conditioners and save you up to 50 percent of your energy bill annually. Plus, a Geothermal system can provide you with free hot water throughout the cooling season and for some of the heating months. These systems have low maintenance and no noisy outdoor unit.
- Most people, even new homeowners, have the least efficient heating and air conditioning equipment allowed under federal law. What a shame! In fact, most gas furnaces are usually only 80 percent efficient! If you must have gas equipment, look for a 95 percent AFUE rated furnace. CGEMC recommends heat pumps since they are much more efficient than furnaces. At a minimum, buy heat pumps and air conditioners with a 12 SEER rating or above.