Whether you rent an apartment or own a home, you’re likely to find yourself on the hook for several different utility bills, including water, gas, and electricity. Unless you’re lucky enough to live off the grid with a private well, solar power, and an ample supply of wood for your fireplace or stove, the best you can do is understand how utilities are charged and what you can do to cut costs. Here are a few things you should know about your utility bills and energy usage…
Calculating Water Usage
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), water usage can be calculated in a couple of different ways, including by the gallon or by centum cubic feet (CCF). For reference, 1 CCF is equivalent to 748 gallons of water. On average, Americans use an estimated 88 gallons of water each day, typically for showering, flushing the toilet, washing hands, washing clothing and dishes, watering landscaping, and for other purposes (drinking, for example). A lot of water is also wasted.
Reducing Energy Usage and Water Waste
Reducing water waste and usage overall is most easily accomplished by checking your bill to see how much you use and then considering where you can easily cut back, such as limiting shower time or collecting rainwater for landscaping, when possible. You can also consider installing motion sensor faucets, aerated shower heads, and low-flow toilets, or even using a gray water system for outdoor watering to curb waste and expenses.
Calculating Natural Gas Usage
Energy.gov notes that natural gas is typically measured by the cubic foot, with billing based on centum cubic feet (CCF) or mille cubic feet (MCF), which correspond to hundreds or thousands of cubic feet, respectively. You can determine how much you’re using by looking at your gas bill or reading the meters attached to your residence, if you have access.
Minimizing gas usage in the home isn’t as easy as turning off a faucet to save water. However, if your furnace runs on gas, consider using tools like a programmable thermostat that can be set to reduce heating or cooling by up to 10 degrees during daytime hours when no one is home. You could save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs annually. You should also schedule regular HVAC service to ensure optimal performance.
Calculating Electricity Usage
Electricity is billed by the kilowatt-hour (kWh), according to Energy.gov. This is calculated based on how many thousands of watts of power your property draws each hour. Again, your electric bill can tell you how much energy you use each month, but you can also get clues from electronics and appliances in your home.
A 60-watt incandescent light bulb, for example, uses 60 watts of energy each hour it’s in use, or 0.06 kWh. By comparison, an LED bulb that gives off the same illumination might use just 10 watts of energy per hour of use (0.01 kWh). Reducing usage can help you to save on energy bills, but you should also consider choosing Energy Star electronics and appliances designed to use less energy all the time so you can curb waste and save money without even thinking about it.
Let Us Help Increase Efficiency in Your Home
At Jennings Heating and Cooling, our focus is not only on your home comfort, it’s on the value you’re getting. In order to get the most value of your HVAC system and increase efficiency in its operation, regular maintenance is necessary. The Jennings Rewards Club is a great way to stay on track with preventative maintenance while also saving money in the process.
However, system efficiency can also rely on other factors such as the humidity level in your home. An air conditioner can only work so hard to remove excess moisture from the air, so if your home is very humid, your system could be working in overdrive. Solutions like a whole-house dehumidifier may be advantageous in increasing energy efficiency for your household.
Identifying energy saving opportunities like these specifically for your home starts with a consultation. Contact us today to learn more or set up an appointment!