“ No Cost” Energy Audits
April first means “April Fools’ Day” and the start of the second quarter of 2017. It also means Spring has arrived with showers, sprouting trees, flowers blooming and a blanket of pollen on everything. (I hope your sinuses handle springtime better than mine do.) All that said, it means summer is not far off.
In the electrical business, April is called a “Shoulder Month” meaning, it along with May, October and November typically are mild temperature months in south Alabama. That usually translates to lower power bills for Pioneer members. This year is quite different, due to the extremely mild winter temps we have experienced at the writing of this article. The milder temperatures and the fact that Pioneer’s Board reduced the kWh rate for January through March should mean that members have had lower than normal power bills throughout the first quarter of 2017. If you have had above normal power bills this year you might need an energy audit.
As mentioned above, April also means it is time to prepare for those hot days of Summer and the potential for higher energy use. If you have central heat and air conditioning (HVAC), this is your largest user of power and it needs regular maintenance. Start by changing your inside air filter monthly so the unit won’t have to run more, struggling for air flow. Have the Freon level checked, and make sure the outside unit is functioning efficiently. Trim shrubs or bushes away from the outside unit(s) to allow for better air-flow. In addition, check your HVAC duct work for leaks or damage (make repairs immediately). If you live in a mobile home, repair or replace underpinning to prevent animals from damaging the duct work underneath the house. A water heater typically has two thermostats with a temperature dial which can be lowered to reduce the water temperature, saving you money. This should be done by a licensed electrician, possibly while he is servicing the HVAC. If you are away from home several days, turn the water heater OFF at the breaker to realize even more energy savings. Check the door gaskets on your refrigerators and freezers for leaks (these leaks will cause the units to run more than necessary). Routine gasket cleaning, vacuuming coils on back, and covering foods well are other ways to save on refrigerators/freezers.
Pioneer’s Energy Auditors will conduct a “no cost” audit at your home and make recommendations on how you can lower your power bill. Call our office today (334-382-6636 or 1-800-239-3092) and request an Energy Audit.
Terry Moseley serves as the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Pioneer Electric Cooperative. This article was originally published in the Pioneer Electric edition of Alabama Living magazine in April 2017.