Winter is here and Snow Miser gave us the first cold days of the 2015-2016 season. The increased cost of heating is the biggest usage of energy of the year here in metro Atlanta. In fact the energy bill of November, December, January, and February is about 50% of the kWhs used throughout the year. One fourth of the months of the year produce one half of the energy used.
Snow Miser – “The Year Without a Santa Claus”
Look At November
The most obvious thing to do is to focus on the energy used during the winter months. Of course the cost of space heating is the first area to hit up. I have taken two steps to alleviate this issue already. At the end of 2013 the central air system was changed out in my house. Then in October 2015 I insulated the attic with another layer of insulation. The kilowatt per hour usage was reduced each time.
The reduction of the kWh has a direct correlation to the savings realized. The chart below shows the cost reduction of the month of November in the previous three years.
The costs in three years for the month of November has a $131.61 difference from 2013-2015. If the savings is this much per year, the ten year savings for operating costs in November is $1,376 after 10 years. For one month a year this isn’t bad but, consider the cost of energy will increase in the future. This means the savings will be greater. This is a great example of time is money; the accumulated savings over the years is sizable.
The latest move of adding insulation made a difference but, I think the radiant barrier reflects some heat the sun would provide during the day. The radiant barrier is great for the summer when the sun is beating down in hot weather but, not so much in winter.
The insulation job was big and here are some changes made:
Low Hanging Fruit
- One quick savings tip is to check the dryer vent. Often the door from the clothes dryer gets caught open and when the dryer is not in use the outside air enters the house.
- Double layer your clothing in winter; you’ll feel warmer and you may be able to lower your thermostat a degree or two and increase your savings
- Set water heaters to 120ºF -this saves a few dollars per year with no effort
- Set your freezer to 30ºF – frozen is frozen and once again this saves a few dollars per year with no effort
- Jump in the shower the moment the water gets warm enough to use; if you wait you waste not only water but the energy it takes to heat the water. The savings will be exponential with more people in the house.
Conservation Is Key
The conservation of energy is one of the best investments you can make. You don’t pay for energy you don’t use, you are not taxed on the spending to buy the energy you don’t use, and the money saved can have a different use. The money you saved can be invested in future savings projects which in turn save you more and in the process your savings snowballs for your benefit not the energy company.