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Posts Tagged: money saving

Summer is finally here!

Posted On: Filed Under: Doors, Air conditioning No Comments on Summer is finally here!

Are you weighing the cost of adding a heat pump, windows or making any energy efficient upgrade? If so, the total cost is not what is written on your contractor’s estimate. A more accurate way to compare options is to include the installed price of your upgrade, less the cost of the energy you will save and cash rebates or tax credits you can receive. Those savings can make the more expensive product cheaper in the long run.

For example, consider a new air source heat pump – good for both heating and cooling your house. You can buy an energy efficient heat pump that is rated at 8.5 HSPF (a measure of heating efficiency). Or spend less for one rated at 6.8 HSPF. However, the high efficiency heat pump uses 24% less energy, and over a 15 year average lifespan this is a substantial savings on your utility bills. But it’s not all you can save.

Only the 8.5+ HSPF heat pump qualifies for a rebate from local utilities ($200-$400), plus a $300 tax credit, for up to $700 saved. Don’t forget to add those savings when comparing total cost.

Here’s another example. A standard (80% AFUE) furnace will have a lower installed price than a high efficiency (95% AFUE) furnace. However, the 95% furnace uses about 30% less energy, and over a 15 year average lifespan, creates significant savings. Only the high efficiency 95% furnace qualifies for federal tax credits and utility rebates putting an extra $250 back in your pocket. That savings combined with contractor discounts and the energy cost reduction might make the 95% furnace a good choice.

The government and our utilities offer rebates that can make some of the more expensive, higher efficiency products more cost effective. They do this because it costs them less to pay you an incentive to use less energy than to build new power plants. So take the cash!

Here are some other rebates and tax credits available:

  • Air Source Heat Pump: Utility rebate $200 – $400 plus tax credit of $300.
  • EnergyStar qualified windows: up to $200 tax credit. And some limited utility rebates.
  • Other combinations of tax credits and rebates include: up to $1300 for insulation, $450 for a tankless water heater and $1100 for a ductless heat pump system.
  • Exterior doors – up to $500 tax credit.
  • Air conditioning – $300 tax credit.
  • Natural gas conversion, up to $3950 from PSE.

We’ve listed the top rebates from Puget Sound Energy, Seattle City Light, Tacoma Power and Snohomish PUD on our website (click here). Restrictions apply and they do change frequently. Federal energy tax credits are available if you haven’t already taken one. Be sure to consult your tax advisor to determine your eligibility. Looking for kitchen appliance or CFL rebates, check out your utility’s website directly. Most electric utilities have them and some give away free bulbs.

If you would like to know more about these products or incentives, call us at 800 398 HOME or visit www.washingtonenergy.com

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Weatherization tips for saving energy & money on utilities

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Cooling, Insulation 2 Comments on Weatherization tips for saving energy & money on utilities

Windows & doors

Reducing leaks around windows, doors and chimneys in your home will result in considerable annual energy savings.

Insulation

Insulation levels in walls, ceilings and floors of your residence play a major role in determining heating costs and comfort. To get started, here are some basic tips:

• Older structures may be under-insulated since the amount of insulation in ceilings, walls, and floors is often determined by the building or energy code requirements mandated at the time the structure was built.

• Check to see if your attic and basement (or crawl space) have a sufficient level of insulation.

• Consider adding insulation when embarking on a home remodeling project.

• Install pipe insulation on all exposed hot water pipes.

• Install pipe insulation on the first three feet of exposed cold water pipe connected to the water heater.

 

Heating & cooling

Heating and cooling your home is the largest single factor in your energy bill. These heating and cooling tips can help you to increase the efficiency. To get started, here are some basic tips:

• Identify places that heat escapes from your home. Check for gaps and holes that allow heat to escape, raising your heating bills and making your home drafty and less comfortable.

• Check your furnace filter(s) monthly. During the heating season (also during the cooling season if you use air conditioning). The proper time interval for replacing or cleaning filters will vary depending on the rate of accumulation of pet hair, dust, and carpet lint in your home. Check your furnace owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions.

• Lower your thermostat. On average, for each degree you consistently lower your thermostat, your heating energy consumption drops by two percent. Therefore, keep your thermostat at the lowest comfortable setting (68 degrees or lower)

• Seal your home’s unheated spaces. If ductwork goes through an unheated basement, attic or crawl space, check for leaky joints or disconnected sections. Seal leaky joints with latex duct mastic or foil backed butyl tape. Reconnect any loose sections, seal, and support.

• Contact your furnace and/or thermostat manufacturer to assure that your furnace and thermostat are compatible and adjusted appropriately for your home.

• Install weather stripping and door sweeps along with caulking any exposed cracks or missing seals. For a no-cost fix, roll up a bath towel and hold it against the bottom of the door with a weight.

• Replace caulking around your home’s windows to reduce air leaks. Use non-hardening “rope caulk” to temporarily seal gaps on little-used, movable windows and sliding doors.

• If your home’s windows are single-paned, consider installing inexpensive “tape-up” interior storm windows for a low-cost, temporary fix. Caution: Make sure that doors and windows can be opened as emergency exits in case of fire.

 

Maintenance is a time consuming task, but extremely important to protect your investment in a home-comfort system. Put your maintenance on autopilot with our Guardian Maintenance Program.

Information courtesy of Puget Sound Energy.

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