Electricity usage can take a hefty chunk out of a homeowner’s budget. For residents of Sarasota, Florida, summer can hit your electric bill hard, as it usually means running your air conditioner almost continuously. Using less energy during Florida’s humid summers can drastically lower your annual electric bill. These easy tips will help reduce your energy consumption.

Conduct an Energy Audit

The best way to find out where your home is losing energy is to request an energy audit from your utility company, an electrical contractor, or HVAC contractor. They’ll do a room-by-room inspection and recommend improvements. You can get the ball rolling by doing a quick scan of your home. Are there any air leaks around doors and windows? Do you leave lights on unnecessarily? Is your home well-ventilated? Does your attic need extra insulation?

Maintain Your HVAC System

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that heating and cooling account for nearly half of a home’s energy use. Regular HVAC maintenance keeps the system functioning optimally and detects problems that may affect the unit’s efficiency, such as leaks in the ductwork. Another common problem is an incorrectly sized HVAC system. An HVAC system that is too big or small won’t heat or cool your home efficiently. As a result, energy usage will increase. Replacing the unit with a correctly sized version will lead to a drop in energy consumption.

Check Electrical Wiring

Most people don’t think about their home’s electrical wiring until there’s a problem. Older homes may still be running on wiring that was installed decades ago. Investing in modern technology and appliances have added to the electrical load. An electrical contractor can identify problems such as faulty appliances or faulty wiring that are contributing to your electricity costs. To solve the problem, you may need to repair the circuit breaker or rewire your home to more adequately meet your household’s electrical usage demands.

Drop the Water Heater Temperature

After the HVAC system, the water heater is the second largest energy consumer in a home. In winter, everyone likes a steaming hot shower. However, when summer rolls around, you can save money by dropping your water heater temperature. In warmer weather, the water in the pipes and tank stays warm for longer than it does in winter, so take advantage of this. Most water heaters are set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. By setting yours to 120 degrees or even 110 degrees, you’ll enjoy a lower energy bill. You can save money for every 10 degrees you lower the temperature.

Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

One of the easiest ways to slash your energy bill is to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs like light-emitting diodes (LED), halogen incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). These types of lighting use up to 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent lighting, and they last longer. Replace all light bulbs at once for immediate savings or replace them individually as they burn out. Look for light bulbs endorsed by Energy Star — they last 15 to 25 times longer than the old incandescent bulbs.

Switch Off Appliances Not in Use

Another easy way to reduce energy is switching off appliances that are not in use. Phantom loads refer to appliances that are drawing energy while in standby mode. These include TVs, DVD players, answering machines, cell phone chargers, computers, and printers. For equipment that you use regularly and prefer not to unplug, use a power strip with an on/off switch. When you’re not using these appliances or equipment, just flip the switch to off, and it will cut the power to everything plugged into that strip.

Switching out a light bulb or unplugging a television may seem insignificant. However, a series of small steps can have a big ripple effect. Not only does saving electricity put money back in your pocket, but it also impacts the environment positively. To discuss ways to reduce your energy usage or to have your home’s electrical wiring inspected, contact the experts at Luminous Electric at 941-777-2211. Our trained electrical technicians will be happy to recommend ways to optimize your Sarasota home’s energy use.

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