Energy Bill Breakdown: Understanding That Monthly Invoice for Optimal SavingsPublished on: January 7, 2014
Everyone has to pay home energy bills, but it can be difficult to understand what you’re paying for. Many homeowners may even believe common myths about home energy savings. It’s important to understand your bills so that you can make smarter energy choices that save money.
Understanding Your Energy Bill
Home energy bills show contact information, account numbers, dates for the bill and billing period, previous payments, and the period’s energy costs. Bills also include meter numbers, plan information, and breakdowns of energy usage. Most energy gets spent on general heating and cooling, with smaller amounts on water heating, appliances, lighting, electronics, and devices plugged in but not turned on.
Tips for Energy Savings
Since your home’s HVAC system uses the lion’s share of energy in your home, cutting back on heating and cooling will lead to the most savings. Here are some tips to carefully and intelligently do so:
- Program the thermostat: When out of the house or sleeping, program the thermostat lower in winter and higher in summer to save energy. You can schedule it to return to your comfort zone shortly before you arrive home or awaken.
- Look to nature: Use the sun to help heat your home in winter by allowing natural light inside; in the summer, use blinds, curtains and other shade to keep heat out.
- Maintain filters: Check filters monthly, and clean and replace as needed to keep your system operating properly.
- Seal Your Home: Maintain insulation to prevent conditioned air from escaping.
- Keep cool: In summer, avoid heat-generating tasks or consider doing them during cooler periods to avoid taxing your cooling system.
- Upgrade: Consider replacing older systems that are not using energy efficiently, as newer energy efficient models will save money in the long run.
The most important step is to consult an HVAC professional. Technicians can address technical issues that a homeowner cannot, such as electrical issues, coil conditions, ductwork maintenance, and challenges specific to your home. The savings that result from consulting a professional will be more than made up by future energy savings.
Written by Robert Koch