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Reduce Your Summer Electric Bill

Electric-MeterDear Vicki,

This year I want to be prepared for summer by evaluating my home’s energy efficiency before our temps hit the triple digits. What can I do to help reduce my electric bill this summer? Signed- Chilly

Dear Chilly,

I hear you! Our historic homes sure have a lot going for them, but energy efficiency is not necessarily one of them. By taking action this month, you can make a significant impact on your bills all summer long. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates the amount of energy lost annually through windows is $35 billion. Yikes! Especially in historic neighborhoods, our windows are often single paned which are far from adequate for the Arizona summer heat. You have two choices, keep them or replace them.

If budgets are tight and you need to keep those single panes, follow these tips. Install white window shades, drapes or blinds to reflect heat away from the house. Install and close curtains on south and west-facing windows during the day and consider awnings for these windows too. Apply sun-control or reflective films on south-facing windows to reduce solar heat gain. Planting shade trees outside windows can also make a big impact.

If you can, seriously consider replacing those single panes with quality dual pane windows. While it may take years for new windows to pay off in energy savings, the benefits of added comfort, improved aesthetics and functionality can offset the cost. Make sure your window installer has experience with historic homes to help you match your original window look. Read about the City’s policy for replacing historic windows at www.Phoenix.gov/historic.

An easy call to make, literally, is to APS. Talk to a friendly advisor who is trained to evaluate your energy usage to help you adjust your plan accordingly. According to those APS folks, for every degree warmer you set the thermostat, you’ll save 2-3% on your AC costs. And use those ceiling fans to feel up to 5 degrees cooler.  To really get a handle on your home’s efficiency, consider calling a home performance auditing company like REEis. These firms evaluate your AC system, insulation, duct work, air sealing, exchange and pressures. Your investment now will reap rewards all summer long.

To submit your question, please contact Vicki at  E-Mail

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