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Reduce Your Power Bill

Your electric bill is probably higher due to the fact that your usage of electricity has increased. We want to help you locate the possible reason or reasons for the increase and eliminate unnecessary consumption.

This do-it-yourself checklist will help you to have a better understanding of your unique usage of electricity. Answer the questions and complete the information for your house or mobile home and you will see what uses power and how much. Additionally, you will see how your living "habits" may be affecting your electric use, and therefore, your bill.

Look here first.

Heating and Cooling System

Is the ductwork airtight, properly sealed with no leaks?

Are all of the ductwork joints mechanically connected?

Are ducts insulated with a minimum of 2 inches or R-6.5 duct wrap insulation or its equivalent?

Is flexible ductwork unrestricted and free of kinks?

Has your air filter been changed within the past month?

Is your outdoor unit free of objects that can hamper airflow?

Has you system been inspected by a licensed HVAC contractor within the past six months?

Are interior doors being left open so as not to restrict proper airflow?

Next step.

Water Heater

Is the water heater free of leaks on the unit?

Are the pipes from the tank to all faucets and spigots free of any leaks and wrapped with insulation.

Is your water bill about the same as it has been?

Are your hot water faucets and spigots free of drips?

Is the temperature set no higher than 140 degrees Fahrenheit?

Do you have a timer to regulate the times of operation?

Is the heater in a conditioned area?

Are all elements operating?

Look at how airtight your home is.

Attic

Is the insulation at least an R-30? (insulation only) (see R-value chart)

Is blown insulation evenly spread, covering ceiling joints?

Is insulation able to do its job by not being compressed by storage items?

Does the roof structure have both low intake and high exhaust ventilation?

Floor

Is the floor insulated to at least an R-19 insulation between floor joists? (see R-value chart)

Does the insulation have the vapor barrier (paper side) facing in?

Is the mobile home underpinned?

Wall/Windows/Doors

Is the total R-value of the outside wall R-12 for mobile homes and existing homes and R-16 for newly constructed homes? (see R-value chart)

Do you have double-paned windows or quality storm windows?

Are your outside doors the insulated type or equipped with storm doors and weather stripping? Doors exposed to unconditioned areas such as garages need to be weather-stripped.

Holes

Are gaps and crevices around doors and windows sealed with weather stripping and/or caulk?

Are all holes around pipes from unconditioned areas, such as plumbing, sealed?

Do you have foam gaskets behind light switches and electrical outlets that are located on outside walls?

Do you have chimney or other avenues by which inside air may be vented to the outside and is it properly sealed?

Does your dryer vent to the outside, pulling air from an unconditioned area?

Did you know that when exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms are used, conditioned air is being drawn out of the house?

If you answered "no" to any of the above questions you do not have the most energy efficient structure nor is every possible step being taken to conserve energy in the home. This may contribute to your higher usage.

Check all appliances for usage and time of operation.

You can calculate how much electricity your individual appliances consume and determine how long you use that specific appliance to arrive at its effect on your electric bill. Each electric appliance should have a label or tag that will indicate the watts that it uses while in operation. To calculate the amount of electricity an appliance will use, the following formula should be utilized:

Wattage x Hours of Use
1,000 = 1 kilowatt-hour

Use this calculation to inventory each of your electric appliances. Do not overlook any appliance as you prepare your list. Begin with the larger ones such as heating and cooling systems and continue to the smaller ones such as hair dryers.

Other information and energy tips.

  • Houses and mobile homes of similar size do not use the same amount of electricity; larger ones typically consume more and smaller ones less. There are many factors, as one can see, that determine the amount of usage of a particular home.
  • Meters are rarely fast, but more often are found to run somewhat slower that standard speed when tested. Blue Ridge's meter accuracy standards exceed what is required nationally.
  • Use sunlight to assist your heating system in the winter by opening blinds or drapes.

  • Some appliances do run when you are not at home or asleep, unless the power supply is turned off.
  • In the summer, restrict the use of heating appliances (cooking, drying, dishwashing) to early morning or nighttime hours to help your cooling system . This also helps to hold down the wholesale cost of power for the co-op, which ultimately is reflected in the amount you pay.
  • Save clothes and dishes for full load washing.
  • If you have a heat pump, set the thermostat on a constant setting appropriate for the season and leave it there, avoiding daily adjustment.
  • Locate your thermostat on an inside wall, away from drafts, sunlight, or other heating sources.
  • If using window air conditioning units, install them on the shady side of the house when possible.
  • Lower thermostat settings in the winter and raise them in the summer. Every degree can make a substantial difference over the season.
  • Clean the condenser coils on your refrigerator at least once a year.
  • Check the door seals and gaskets on the refrigerator and freezer to ensure a tight fit.
  • Avoid putting hot food directly inside the refrigerator and freezer. Let them cool to room temperature first if possible.
  • A full freezer operates more efficiently than an empty one and will stay colder longer in the event of a power outage. Plastic containers of water may be used to fill the void.
  • Decide what you want from a refrigerator or freezer before opening the door. Air that escapes must be replaced!
  • Refrigerators and freezers that are located in unconditioned areas will run more during the summer season.
  • Fluorescent bulbs use less electricity than regular bulbs while operating.
  • Be sure that the bulb size is appropriate for the task; larger wattage uses more electricity.
  • Well pumps can malfunction and should be considered when evaluating increased usage.
  • Water bed heaters and hot tubs will increase your usage.



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