Utility bills add up for your Washington, D.C., home, especially during the summer. While you can’t get out of paying them, you certainly don’t want to pay more than necessary. Find out if you’re overspending on your utility bills.
Keep your past utility bills or look them up online to make sure your bills are similar to the same months the previous year. Bear in mind a lot of variables could change your bills. If you have house guests, your bills will tend to be higher that month. If it’s hotter this June than last, then it will cost more to cool your home. Also, utility companies raise prices periodically. Even with the variables, it’s still a good way to determine if you’re currently overspending.
If most of the factors are the same but you still see a significant increase in your utilities, it might be a sign that something is amiss with your air conditioner. If you look back and your bills increase a lot every year, it might tell you it’s time to consider replacing your HVAC system. Aging systems tend to pull more electricity as they get older and become less efficient.
Talk with your neighbors or people in the D.C. area. If you know someone with a home with similar square footage, your bills shouldn’t be much different. If your bills seem higher than their bills, see what’s different that might be saving them money. Perhaps they have invested in energy-saving windows or replaced their HVAC system recently. Check to see if they have shade trees around their home or other landscaping that could conserve energy. Although it’s impossible to experience the same savings, find out what works for your neighbors and give it a try.
If you aren’t getting preventive maintenance on your HVAC unit, you’re likely overspending on your utilities. Preventive maintenance is like a vehicle oil change except for your HVAC unit. It makes sure your unit runs efficiently, and it also fixes any small problems that might run up your utility bills. It also extends the life of your unit, which will also save you money in the long term.
Energy Audit Information
Perform an energy audit on your home to know where you might be losing energy. An energy audit conducted by a licensed contractor will offer you insight into whether you have leaky doors, ducts, or windows. It can also measure the energy output of your HVAC system to show you whether it’s the correct size for your home and working efficiently. After your audit, correct any areas of your home to stop wasting energy and start seeing the savings on your energy bills.
Natural Energy Saving Opportunities
If you aren’t taking advantage of natural cooling and heating techniques in your home, you’re wasting money on your utilities. When you don’t ease up the work on your system, you force it to work harder to heat or cool your home translating to higher energy bills. Use ceiling fans during the summer when you’re in that room to help cool your body. Change out your sheets and bedding to something lighter to help keep cool at night. Make sure all your registers are open and unblocked so air can circulate correctly. These small changes will help ease the burden off your system, wasting less energy.
Efficient HVAC System
If you don’t have an efficient HVAC system for your home, the answer is definitely yes — you are certainly overspending on your utility bills. Aging HVAC systems pull more energy to cool or heat your home as opposed to its newer counterparts. Furthermore, specific systems are designed to be more energy-efficient. If your system is aging, perhaps it’s time to talk to a contractor about upgrading to a new system. You may also want to consider other options for your DC home such as a heat pump or ductless system.
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