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Lower Utility Bills

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Lower utility bills are in reach of any homeowner that is committed to improving efficiency and doing some upgrades to the home’s infrastructure. There are many ways to achieve this, and while many of them are simple, there are some more extensive changes a homeowner can make to the house to secure energy independence and greener power. With the federal government and multiple state governments pouring money into incentives and tax breaks for those with a renewable power system, it’s becoming a realistic option for many families.

The easiest ways to lower utility bills are to replace inefficient devices in the house with better performing varieties
. Switching out tungsten light bulbs with compact fluorescent lighting can save $50 over the life of the bulb, and they last much longer. Kitchen appliances are big drains on the building’s power, and any improvement made in this area can reap larger rewards. Some appliances are positively rated by EnergyStar, an EPA-sponsored program that reviews devices and recognizes those that use less energy than comparable models. Replacing inefficient models with these will be a big help for a budget-minded homeowner.

Climate control in a house is one of the most common sites of inefficiency
, and switching out the traditional in-duct system with a ductless system, or replacing the thermostat with an upgraded programmable thermostat will lower utility bills significantly. Most in-duct setups are plagued with leaks, allowing air that has already been cooled or heated to escape through seams in the ductwork. Because of this, as much as 25 percent of the energy used by the furnace or a/c can be lost through leakage. This is a rather large percentage, as climate control usually accounts for around half of a home’s total power usage. A ductless system eschews these issues by connecting unobtrusive wall-mounted units to a compressor that sits outside. These setups use zone climate controlling to target where heating or cooling is needed the most. This means lower utility bills and less waste.

Perhaps the most radical changes a homeowner can make in the search for extra efficiency is to have a solar or geothermal system installed on the building. In the past, many have been tentative to jump into renewable power because of its price, but multiple tax breaks and incentives, along with improved manufacturing, can reduce the cost by half. Many installers are willing to finance the rest, and once it is paid off, the homeowner can enjoy free power for the lifetime of the panels. Seeing as newer models can last for decades before giving out, and the payback period for the photovoltaic system is around five years, this means lower utility bills will be a reality for many years.

Geothermal systems are a little different, and don’t generate power like solar systems do
. Instead, they use piping that runs deep into the Earth’s surface to areas of heat. Water is run through these pipes and picks up the heat as it travels deep into the Earth. On its way back, it can deliver hot water and heated air for climate control purposes. This will lower electrical costs significantly, and do it without harming the environment.

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