By KRYSTI SHALLENBERGER
According to energy auditor Eco-Three, most energy waste comes from a house’s heating and air system (HVAC).
Eliminating the waste in HVAC, which is usually about 50 percent of an energy bill, reduces the total bill by about 20 to 30 percent.
With a goal to educate the Birmingham area about energy waste and ways to lower energy bills, Eco-Three shared tips that homeowners can use to reduce their electricity and heating bills.
1. Change filters
Changing air filters sounds like a lot of work, but dirty filters cost a lot more. At $10 per filter, the cost of changing a filter every two months adds up to $360 a year. Compare this yearly cost to the cost of repairing a burnt motor in the air conditioning unit at $800. With dirty filters in place, the air conditioning unit must work harder to cool or heat the air through the clogged filter. As it works harder, its parts slowly burn out with increasing activity. Changing the filters reduces the cost of repairing a broken motor and also cleanses the air.
Dirty air can also severely irritate asthma and lung conditions, so changing filters benefits your health as well.
2. Turn down the water heater
When you use hot water for washing machines, dishwasher and showers, you lose energy when water sits in the hot water heater. The less heat that escapes the water heater, the less amount of money it takes to heat it up.
3. Insulate the water heater
Turning down the water heater helps reduce escaping heat, but insulating the water heater captures the heat as it attempts to escape and causes the water heater to stay warmer, longer. Eco-Three advises homeowners to buy an insular jacket at a home improvement retailer to wrap their water heater. They also advise homeowners to insulate the first five feet of cold water pipes as well as insulate all their hot water pipes.
4. Install low-flow shower heads
Consider low-flow shower heads as alternates for normal shower heads. Low-flow shower heads dump 2-1/2 gallons a minute, interspersing air between the water drops. This saves water, therefore reducing the water. Shower heads can be purchased from home improvement retailers.
5. Get an energy audit
Energy-auditing companies like Eco-Three inspect your house for leaks in ducts, insulation, gas lines and other energy waste. After auditing your house, Eco-Three makes a list of leaks and other issues in order of the most wasteful. The company can repair your home, or you can hire your own contractor. Their first goal is to inspect your house and determine what causes the leaks and waste, the costs of repair and the problems that are in greater need of addressing.
Eco-Three also checks the amount of insulation in each house. According to Eco-Three, most homes in Birmingham under-insulate, contributing to significant energy loss that results in rocketing HVAC bills.
To contact Will Fountain and Jonathan Handey at Eco-Three, visit www.eco-three.com or call 314-3500.