Finance LifeStyles

UNDERSTANDING YOUR HOME ENERGY USAGE

By Christina Dube

This unusually chilly winter we are experiencing has me dreaming of summer heat. Be careful what you wish for because 2018 was the 3rd hottest year on record in San Diego. That extreme heat coupled with the current cold, means homeowners are facing much higher than normal energy expenses. So, what can you do to improve your energy efficiency? Luckily there are many options for all budget levels.

Let’s examine where the majority of your energy consumption is from.

According to US Data published by National Academies, EDU, the largest energy users are – #1 space heating (and cooling) and #2 water heating. If homeowners have a pool without a variable speed pump, you can consider that your second highest energy guzzler. When I installed a variable speed pool pump five years ago, it cut my summer monthly bill in half.

There are many strategies to improving efficiency. Let’s start with the quicker, $100-500 fixes:

  • Smart home thermostat regulators such as Ecobee or Nest
  • Improving duct work
  • Sealing doors and windows
  • Light bulbs and fixtures – according to YGrene.com, light fixtures account for up to 1/3 of the total energy bill. Replacing with energy efficient fixtures and bulbs will have an immediate impact that pays for itself in only months.

Improvements in the range of $700-$3000 include*:

  • Replacing old appliances– anything older than 10 is outdated by todays energy standards
  • Replacing gas water heater with tankless water heater
  • Installing a variable speed pool pump
  • Solar Storage Battery (for homeowners with current solar systems)

Largest investments to improve energy efficiency:

  • Replacing single pane windows and doors
  • Solar Photovoltaic Systems – eliminating your SDG&E bill altogether is attractive to many homeowners and renters alike, which is why the solar industry has created so many purchase/leasing options.

You can feel good about reducing your carbon footprint while saving money on your electric bill by making small or grand improvements to your home’s energy efficiency. Get ready, Summer is just around the corner!

*All of these purchases have brands offering potential energy efficient rebates

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