by Rosie Romero
Here are some suggestions for your house, as well as tips on how you can you money or even earn a tax credit or rebate.
1. Conduct an energy audit. If you don’t know where to start with saving energy, both Salt River Project (savewithsrp.com) and Arizona Public Service (aps.com) offer programs for a limited time that allow homeowners to have an energy audit done at a reduced cost.
For just $99, a participating home-performance contractor will assess your insulation, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning and look for construction issues and hot spots in the house.
One great example of how this can help: Kathleen Mascarenas, SRP’s public information officer, noticed one of her bathrooms was always warmer than the rest of the house. An audit determined the builder had neglected to install sheetrock on the back of a tub. So the heat from the garage went into the bathroom via the tub.
2. Consider solar power, particularly a solar water heater. Much of your energy bill comes from heating water, which is why a rooftop solar water heater can make sense.
The average solar water-heating system for a family of four can cost as little as $2,000 to $2,500 after utility incentives, rebates and tax credits, according to the Solar Store in Tucson. You’ll soon start saving big money on gas bills.
3. Invest in an energy-efficient pool pump. New regulations for manufacturers mean that pumps must cut energy use dramatically. Pool professionals we polled say that the new pumps can save you $300 or more on electric bills annually. The bad news is that a new pump can cost $1,200 to $1,400. But SRP and APS currently offer rebates.
4. Do your wash in cold water. According to the Alliance to Save Energy and Procter & Gamble, if you switch to cold water in your washer, you could save enough energy to run an average home for two weeks.
Cold water keeps colors from bleeding and fading and prevents shrinkage. You rarely need hot water to remove stains from clothes. And because you live in Arizona, take wet clothes outside to air-dry. It can be better for fabrics, and on hot days, clothes can dry in an hour or less.
5. Switch to an “off-peak” electricity-rate plan. If you are away from home most of the day and can limit appliance use to certain times, you may save on utility bills. SRP and APS offer assorted plans.
If you have a large home, you can buy a personal home-energy-management system to monitor electric use and help you get even lower off-peak rates. According to Advanced Home Systems of Phoenix, a computer can save you 25 to 50 percent off your average kilowatt hour.
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/style/hfe/diy/articles/2012/04/23/20120423ways-save-energy-money.html#ixzz26D4GMoNN