Published on March 5th, 2012 | by Guest Contributor
Why You Need a Home Electricity Usage Audit
The following guest post is by Your Energy Team, a energy audit company based in New Jersey.
If you believe like I do, every dollar wasted needlessly or without any actual return, is not only requiring you work that much harder to secure your future, it is also lost opportunity costs. Meaning that money could be used to invest and compound over time to create even more money.
This is one path to financial security and freedom that is widely overlooked. I remember a story about Dallas Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones having a ritual when he first bought the team of walking around the Cowboy’s monster practice facility in suburban Dallas and shutting off lights and power equipment not in use. The man has a net worth in the billions. He understood intimately the lost opportunity cost and increased pressure you put on your situation to throw money down the electricity bill black hole when it is totally unnecessary.
Lessons for all of us
For those of us who aren’t owners of professional sports franchises, it is incumbent that we understand that right now our home could be bleeding us of hard-earned money and wrecking future opportunities through wasted power. Many of you might have a lot of the same questions about how to turn this around and keep more of what you earn? With these common questions in mind, I wanted to look at some recurring trouble spots for electrical waste, and then propose some solutions.
Common but Little Understood Sources of Home Electrical Waste
Problem: High tech TV Set
According to Alternet.org, our light little TV sets that a three-year-old could pick up, eats up 2 billion dollars annually in electrical charges in the United States alone. Did you know a great deal of power is even being used when the TV is not running or recording something?
Solution–States are getting wind of the problem and look for the emergence of low watt usage sleep technology in the next few years. Meantime, turn it off when not in use and unplug when you are going to be away for day or more.
Problem: An antiquated poorly insulated water heater
Water heaters are often overlooked because they aren’t something which are well-understood by many of us busy homeowners. Often older water heaters have pipes that are inadequately insulated. This situation causes more energy to be used to get water to desired temperatures for bathing, washing clothes and washing dishes.
Solution—Upgrade to new and more energy efficient. Newer water heaters aren’t that much money and especially in the grand scheme of how much of a need water is for your everyday life. Many new models will qualify for governmental tax breaks or credits as well. If upgrading to new isn’t feasible with the current state of your budget, consider making sure the pipes are covered with an insulated blanket.
Problem: That air comfort monster.
Many homes rely on electricity for adequate heating and cooling. What often is overlooked is the insulation and draft issues which make it harder to maintain room comfort. Poor insulation and draft control in windows and crevices means more power spent trying to win the battle to maintain a comfortable room.
Solution — Try to think in terms of making your home as resistant to weather swings as possible. This will save you huge money over time because you won’t have to run heating and cooling systems as much. Again, upgrades in this area often can grab you governmental tax credits to help pay for it.
A Mega Solution :: A Home Energy Audit
Line yourself up a professional to give you a home energy audit aka home energy analysis. They’ll look at all the areas where money is being thrown away on power consumption and lay out potential solutions. Look for an analyst who is essentially a home contractor with certifications who can line up whatever you decide you need. Avoid someone who is a dealer in a specific product.
The key is to bring in a home energy analysis team that looks at your home as a system and knows intimately how the interactions of all the parts of your home affect the whole. Many times the audits or analysis are low-cost or free. You will learn a lot, and whatever you decide to do, you will end up saving a lot.
This guest post is written by Xavier S. Walter is the president of The Energy Team, and as a BPI Accredited Contractor, and Certified BPI Proctor, he serves Home Energy Team affiliates across the country. Xavier is actively conducting energy audits, air sealing, and whole home retrofits under the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star program.
[Image of Electric Meter by Shutterstock]