Tips to help cut your energy bill

July 19, 2012 3:00:19 PM PDT
With the heat and humidity back, chances are your cooling costs are going up again. So what can you do to soften the blow to your wallet? We have tips and tweaks that could help bring your energy bill down.

With temperatures back in the 90's, air conditioners are working overtime. So how do you fight the battle of rising energy bills? Home efficiency improvements could be the answer.

It's summer and your AC in overdrive.

"During the hot Texas summers, a homeowner may see 60 to 70 percent of their bill being attributed to air conditioning usage at their home," Reliant Energy's Wayne Morrison said.

How do you beat the heat without breaking the bank? Experts say start in the attic.

"Energy wise, radiant shield is a great option because it's low cost, and it has an immediate impact. So when we put energy wise radiant shield in the attic, the customer that day can really feel a difference in their home," said Leonard Courtright with Allied Siding & Windows said.

During the day, your attic heats up. That heat gets trapped because your insulation acts as a sponge holding the heat in. At night, that heat wants to get into your home. Therefore your AC runs in the evening, even though it's cooler outside.

"Energy wise, radiant shield keeps that heat up out of the attic. So it will keep the attic cooler, so you don't have to worry about keeping the heat out of the house. You're keeping it out of the attic all together," Courtright said.

Proof is in the numbers. Before installing radiant shield...

"It's only 90 degrees outside right now. But the decking is already 123 degrees without energy wise radiant shield," Courtright said.

After it's installed, the temperature is about 30 degrees cooler, which means huge savings in your energy bill.

Another option to cut costs...

"It's a window film we put on your existing windows," said Abid Quraishi with Solar X. "These films are virtually clear. They're non-reflective they all reject 99 percent of the ultraviolet light, which is your major cause of fading and they can reduce up to 70 percent of the heat."

So what type of savings can you expect?

"We can reduce your ac bill by about 30 percent by installing these films," Quraishi said.

Again, proof is in the numbers.

"This lower window does not have any coating on it. And when I hold this meter up, it's reading up into the mid 70s as far as the heat coming through," Quraishi said. "This window here has the 3M Prestige 70 film applied to it. And this is under 10. You're in single digits."

The average cost to install a radiant shield is around $3,700. Your guaranteed savings is $75 a month, so based on those averages, it will pay for itself in three to four years.

Close your blinds during the day, or use ceiling fans. And changing that air filter will help your air conditioner run more efficiently, in turn saving you money.

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