Most of us would agree that there's no way we could live without heating and cooling in our home, so we've accepted that utility bills are an unavoidable part of life. But the annual cost of heating and cooling your home can cause your energy bill to skyrocket, leaving you scratching your head and wondering whether you'd be better off investing in some heated blankets and fans instead.
The fact of the matter is that heating and cooling raise your energy consumption significantly, and the average person will spend 7 percent of their annual income paying for it.
The Average Energy Bill Cost
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported the average energy bill cost $111.67 in 2017.
The U.S. Department of Energy reports that nearly half of all annual energy bills are spent on heating and cooling. The actual percentage you pay will vary depending on your state, the size of your home and your usage.
Top Home Energy Guzzlers
When it comes to your monthly energy bills, it may come as no surprise that the larger pieces of equipment and appliances typically account for the highest energy consumption. Some are worse than others and can be put to blame for astronomical household bills on a monthly and yearly basis.
We’re weighing in on a few of the top energy consumers in your home, and if you want to drastically reduce your bills, you want to monitor these power guzzlers closely:
Heating & Cooling Equipment: taking the top spot, heating and cooling equipment typically account for almost 40% of your total energy bill.
Hot Water: next comes water heating equipment. This includes the hot water you typically use for cooking, doing laundry, as well as for bathing. In total, this equipment typically accounts for roughly 25% of your utility bills each month.
Refrigerators & Freezers: these large appliances typically run all day and all night and for that reason, it’s probably no surprise that you can find them near the top of the list. Refrigerators and freezers typically account for about 7-10% of your energy bills and if you want to keep them running a bit more efficiently, we suggest avoiding placing them in areas that receive direct sunlight or come in contact with other major heat sources in the house.
Washers & Dryers: you probably aren’t dropping quarters into your machines if you have a laundry room in your house, but that doesn’t mean you’re not paying to clean your clothes. You can reduce laundry costs by using cool or cold water with the wash cycle and removing lint from the trap in the dryer after each load.
Bigger Homes Cost More
Even if you turn on your HVAC less frequently than the average person, a larger space costs more to properly heat or cool. The average U.S. home is now 2,687 square feet, double the size it was in 1973.
Just think about how much harder and more frequently an air conditioning system will have to kick on and keep pumping cool air in order to keep a large house comfortable during the hottest months of the year. The same is true for heating a large house in the winter months and while there are lots of natural ways to save on these costs, it’s inevitable that a home with more square feet will cost you more in energy bills each month.
Someone who lives in a smaller abode or an apartment will spend less even if they tend to use their heat and AC more often.
With that said, it’s vital to consult a professional when it’s time for new heating or cooling equipment. An air conditioning system that’s too large or too small for a space will actually require more energy to operate than one that’s sized properly.
The same can be said for a home’s heating system. Your furnace may be working much too hard if it’s too large for your small home, or too small for your large home.
How to Save on Your Energy Bill
Proper insulation is by far one of the most important energy-saving factors. If your house loses heat too rapidly, you'll wind up running your HVAC overtime just to maintain a stable temperature.
There are plenty of additional ways to save on energy bills each month. Check out a few key tips and tricks, below!
During the summer months, be sure to leave blinds and curtains closed during the day. This will help prevent the sun’s warm rays from penetrating through windows and doors and heating up your home. As a result, your air conditioning system won’t need to work as hard to keep your home cool.
Be sure to use appropriate bedding depending on the time of year. During the spring and summer, we recommend using light fabrics like cotton or bamboo that will help keep you cooler at night. When temperatures are chilly outside, you may want to swap your lighter linens out for heavier options like flannel. This also applies to the comforter on top of your bed. It’s a wise idea to use one that is more lightweight during the summer and a heavier blanket during the fall and winter.
Limit the use of heat-producing appliances and technology during the spring and summer months to avoid adding excess heat to the house. This includes things like televisions, computers, ovens and stoves. You may also want to opt for cooler foods, or ones that don’t require cooking on the stove or in the oven during the warmer months of the year.
Have a programmable thermostat installed. It will allow you to have greater control over your home’s comfort while saving on energy bills in the process. A programmable, or smart, thermostat allows you to set the temperature in the house for different times of the day and night. This means you can raise the settings a few degrees during the day while you’re at work and the kids are at school, and lower it a few degrees when the house is occupied again at night.
Remember that a little bit of maintenance goes a long way when it comes to your home’s heating and cooling systems. Clean or change the filters in your furnace and air conditioner at least once every 30-60 days. Not only will this help your systems work more efficiently, they also drastically reduce the chance of system breakdowns or other issues that could lead to costly repairs.
You should also schedule an HVAC tune-up to make sure your system is running in tip-top shape year-round. Our products and services are designed to help you improve your comfort and maximize the life expectancy of your equipment. We can help you do this and save money on utility bills. Additionally, our indoor air quality experts can help you find relief from allergies.
Call 72 Degrees Air Conditioning & Heating today so our Fredericksburg and Kerrville HVAC professionals can start helping you save money ASAP! And don’t worry, we offer 6 iron clad guarantees. If your system is not working the way it should be, or you’re not happy with our work for just about any reason, it’s our job to make it right! After all, we’re here to help with all of your heating and cooling needs!