How to get a handle on your utility bills spending pennies saving dollars
One of the first questions potential buyers ask once they've shown an interest in a property "What are the utility bills for this home". My answer "It's based on your usage, I can teach you ways to keep your usage to a manageable level and show you how to invest pennies and save dollars".
Here in Florida our heating and cooling accounts for around 49% of the average utility bill.
The simplest change you can make is a NO COST approach by making behavioral changes. Which is easier said then done. Anyone who's tried to loose weight, quit smoking, or start exercising you know that behavioral changes are the hardest to stick to so this weeks blog is going to concentrate on the lions share of the utility bill.
It's simple to just tell you the recommended settings that are set by the utility companies 78 in summer and 68 in winter but I find when I share that at one of my energy seminars all I hear is GASPS, I can't live that way.........so here are a few ways you can work toward meeting that goal.
Try 1-2 degrees at a time (raising or lowering based on the time of year) and let your body and household acclimate to the temperature over the next two weeks. Repeat until you get to the recommended settings or below. Remember for every degree above the recommended setting (75 degrees in the summer vs the recommended 78 degrees) that you will raise your utility bill 5% PER DEGREE on the heating and cooling portion of your bill.
How do I survive?? Let's do a little science experience take your arm, hold it in front of your mouth and blow across your arm.....feel how that instantly feels cooler? Our skin has so much moisture when you add the air flow it cools the skin. Why did we do this little exercise? To prove that a fan will make you FEEL 5-7 degrees cooler. If you adjust your thermostat then you should add a fan in the summer months. Now FANS COOL PEOPLE NOT ROOMS, so there is no need to leave it running when you're not there to enjoy. When no one is home adjust your thermostat 5% above or below the recommended setting based on the time of year. Just these small changes will make a dramatic difference in managing your utility bills.
Once you have your heating and cooling under control make sure you're not loosing any of your hard earned money by letting it escape through un-caulked windows, non-weather stripped doors, or out through your pipes by sealing up any holes (especially under your sinks), make sure your fireplace flue is CLOSED during the summer, replace weather stripping at your doors, caulk doors and windows so air is not escaping. Let me give you a real visual if you have a 1/8" of clearance in the door jam then that is equivalent of having a 2" HOLE IN YOUR HOUSE! So seal those leaks, keep that hard earned money inside your home and stop heating and cooling the outside.
Behavior changes are FREE but take time to adjust your comfort level recommended settings 78 in summer 68 in winter.
Stop those leaks, update weather stripping and caulk seal holes near sinks, close your fireplace flue in the summer months.
So keep your COOL.....and save some cold hard cash.
Rosie Hetman, REALTOR is EcoBroker Certified she is a trained presenter for the JEA Savings without Sacrifice program and a volunteer project leader for the Ambassadors of the Earth. You can contact her directly at 904.591.2709 if you'd like to set up a free Energy Workshop for you company, home owners association, community or civic group.