Saving Money on Your Electric Bill
Let’s face it, it can be hard to make ends meet, especially when we have to pay bill after bill, and the rates for essential services, like electricity in Phoenix Arizona, keep going up and up. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to save on some of your payments without having to make major changes to your lifestyle? One of the easiest and most efficient places to start is with your electrical bill. Below we’ll reveal one of the simplest ways to get started on lowering your rates without limiting or restricting your use.
If you want to make a difference in your electricity bill, the quickest and easiest place to start is with your light bulbs. Switching from standard incandescent to LED lighting will save energy, which means you’ll save money, and the difference will be striking. Take, for instance, a 60W incandescent lightbulb. This standard bulb can run for an average of 10,000 hours, and when used for an average of 3 hours/day will cost just over $7 to run. Compare that to the equivalent 9W LED bulb, which can not only run 2.5 times longer than an incandescent bulb (25,000 hours) but will only a fraction of what it costs the run an incandescent bulb ($1).
Although LED lighting has been around for a while, one of the reasons you may not be using it already is because of the cost. LED lighting is an investment because the immediate cost is a bit higher than your standard bulb. But, when comparing prices, it’s important to think about the staying power. If an LED bulb costs you more at the outset, it will still end up saving you more in the long run because they last almost 3 times as long.
Not only are LED lights more efficient and cost-effective in the end, but they are also more environmentally friendly than your standard lightbulb. Because they are energy efficient, they last longer, don’t need to be replaced as often, and contain no toxic chemical, using LED lights is one easy way to reduce your carbon footprint and do something good for the environment, all while saving money!
If you really want to save money though, you may want to do more than just changing out your bulbs. Simple energy practices, like reducing your use and switching over to energy efficient products is a start, but for bigger, more drastic savings you should talk to a licensed electrician who can help make your home more energy efficient.
There are many ways to save on your electricity, and you may want to look into solar power as another way of saving on your bill.
If your house was built before the 1960’s,
The older your home the higher the chance of it not being capable of safely regulating the wattage needed for newer appliances. Houses built before the 1960’s might not be on par with present day houses wired to handle 100-amp service.
Considering the constant revolution of technology and our burgeoning needs, which are making our lives easier, upgrading to 150 or 200 amps might prevent the need to consider rewiring all over again in a few years.
By rewiring the house it allows for prevention of tripping the system and for space to grow.
Houses build before the 1960s might have a knob and tube system in place. Houses built after the 1960s generally came equipped with insulated cables with ground wires. The older the wiring in place, the higher the chance of it being a safety hazard. In addition, it is possibly not covered by insurance in case of tragedy or even insurable at all.
If your circuit breaker keeps tripping
With the housing booms and busts in the last few decades, some houses have been wired in a sub-par fashion. Have you ever wondered why your circuit breaker keeps tripping? The reason for this is that you are most probably overloading the circuit beyond its capacity. If, for example, your house is only equipped to handle a 10-amp circuit, but your electrical needs go up to 15-amps the circuit breaker will trip to prevent overheating. The older your wiring the higher the chance that it is not well equipped to handle the electrical needs of the multitude of appliances we need to live a comfortable life in this day and age.
Hiring a licensed electrician to inspect live wires is an absolute necessity because of the high risk of electrocution. If you are considering rewiring please contact us and we will connect you with a licensed electrician who will be able to put your mind at ease.
Training and Qualifications Electricians Go Through
There is certain training and qualifications to become an electrician. You have to have knowledge and experience to be in this profession. Electricians almost always learn their work through apprenticeship programs. These type of programs have on the job training and classroom training. With all the training received by doing this a electrician can work doing both maintenance jobs and construction work. Applications require that you are eighteen years old and require that you have a high school diploma or a equivalent to one. They like you to be good with math and English skills. You also would have to pass a test to meet their requirements.
Apprenticeship programs last around four years, and this is with hours of classroom work and on the job training. Apprentices learn in the classroom about electric, installation and maintaining electrical systems. They learn about blueprints, math, electrical codes, safety and first aid issues. An on the job apprentice works under the supervision of other electricians. They do everything in steps before becoming qualified experienced electricians. A apprentice must prove their knowledge of an electricians work before becoming a electrician.
Vocational schools will offer the training to become a electrician. And there are also other private and public schools that will do the same thing. Some employers often hire students who have completed schooling in a vocational school. And then start them off at an advanced level, then if someone did not go through any type of schooling. Some people work as other peoples helpers in assisting electricians with their work. Then go into schooling to become a apprentice. This gives them a jump on what they need to know. There are certain skills that are needed to become a electrician.
Some of these skills are that may have to have good eye hand coordination, be physically fit, and have good balance. You need to be good at solving math problems very quickly. You should have excellent color vision to identify the colors of electrical wires. This is very important. And having a good work history is a plus with all employers. You should be a licensed electrician and pass a test for all your knowledge of electrical issues. A good electrician keeps up to date on new electrical issues and sometimes take classes to update their knowledge on these issues.
If you are a experienced electrician you can get a job such as a supervisor, project manager, and construction superintendent. So it is good to have all the experience you can get to move up. Some experienced electricians will start up their own business. A skilled electrician can also become a electrical inspector. If you want to advance on a electricians job it can be important to not only know the English language but also Spanish. This will help you to communicate better and to pass on better instructions to workers that are Spanish and that have limited English skills. The Spanish population is great in the construction field. So this is important. There is a great deal to know and to do to become a qualified experienced electrician.
Solar Projects– Should You Do Them Yourself?
With increasing fossil fuel prices, solar is becoming a popular option. If you have a solar project in mind, the first thing you have to determine is whether you should build it yourself. In the late 70s, the world suffered through an oil crisis. Oil dependant countries reacted by investing in renewable energy strategies with the goal of reducing the impact of future problems. While the United States dropped this strategy after the end of the crisis, many other countries continued to pursue it. Germany, for instance, produces a sizeable amount of its electrical needs through wind and solar power. Norway produces all of its need through hydropower. As oil prices rise, we are paying for not continuing to pursue renewable energy. Fortunately, much of the technology developed in other countries is readily available in the United States.
Building and installing solar platforms, whether active panels or passive window systems, is a fairly uncomplicated task if you have basic construction knowledge. There are two distinct types of solar approaches, but only one should be pursued as a do it yourself project.
The first type is active solar, which uses panels to create electricity for heating or to heat water. In general, you should consider having a contractor install these systems. Federal and state governments offer massive rebates and tax savings if you use active solar systems instead of drawing off the electrical grid. These rebates, however, usually require a licensed contractor do the installation. While there are exceptions, you don’t want to miss out on $4,000 to $10,000 in potential savings. From a financial perspective, it simply isn’t worth it.
The second type of solar platform is known as passive. The government doesn’t kick you any rebates or tax incentives for this platform, so it makes a perfect project for those that like to get their hands dirty. These projects are all about orienting your home or structure to take advantage of the plentiful sunlight that hits it each day. The idea is to let the sunlight in on the south side of your home, let it heat up thermal mass materials such as masonry and then circulate the heat through the home. Yes, it works in the winter.
These projects rarely require you to have any special knowledge beyond that which you would get from basic home improvement construction experience. The trick is in the orientation of the home, the placement of windows and the materials used. It is fairly simple and can save you a ton of money on your utility bills.
In summary, you should almost always use a contractor if panels are part of your system. If you are going for a non-active system, break out the hammer and get after it.
The term “transient surge” refers to a sudden spike in electrical power that can surge through wiring and short circuit any electrical device connected to the electrical service panel. The most common source of transient surge is lighting. Lighting does not have to strike the home itself. A strike on a nearby transformer can spike the voltage throughout the neighborhood and destroy equipment in every home on the block. Because technology has so evolved that virtually every electronic device in today’s home contains a printed circuit board like the type found in computers, professionally installed whole house surge suppression is the only reliable safeguard against catastrophic equipment failure. Whole house surge suppressors also safeguard against fluctuations of power in rural areas known as “dirty power.” These fluctuations occur due to long distances between small communities and service providers, and they will wreck havoc on systems, kitchen appliances, stereos, and of course, computers. Many people are unaware of these hazards and rely on retail power strips alone to protect the most sensitive electrical equipment.
This is a trust misplaced, because virtually every subsystem coming from service provider is therefore a potential threat that requires whole house surge suppression to proactively guard against.
It is important to understand that as homes have grown larger and more customized over the last 40 years that the wiring systems used to power them have also become more complex. Many homeowners are surprised when they learn that electrical panels themselves now contain printed circuit boards just like computers. If the voltage spike of a transient power surge reaches a panel, the power spike will short circuit the panel and send the surge to every electrical component and system connected to its network.
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To minimize the likelihood of such catastrophic damage, it is wise to invest in a sophisticated whole house surge suppressor engineered to block lightning induced transience and dirty power spikes. A standard size whole house surge suppressor has been proven to consistently block spikes of up to 300,000 A and is only 50% the size of equivalent devices.
While there are many whole house surge suppression devices available on the open market, they are very difficult for the self-trained electrician– and almost impossible for the novice– to correctly install. When homeowners work with a professional, certified team of electrical contractors, they receive the best commercial grade whole house surge suppression technology delivered directly to their residential service panel and home automation network. Electrical design consultants routinely perform panel repair and upgrades, and can very quickly assess the nature and size of any home’s electrical network and calculate the necessary level of protection it requires. This data is then used to determine the appropriate size of the whole house surge suppressor.
Please realize that when we say “size” of the service panel we are not really referring to the physical dimensions of the panel itself. Rather, size in this sense refers more to the ratio of power delivered to the home versus the number of devices drawing power through the panel. The more devices, the higher the risk of catastrophic home power failure and thousands of dollars in equipment replacement costs. For example, most people in larger homes now have up to four televisions and one wall-sized plasma TV. Electrical design teams routinely enter such dwellings and are amazed to find that the plasma TV is plugged directly into the wall– and therefore waiting to be the first device destroyed without effective whole house surge suppression to protect it.
Other systems like alarms, satellite dishes, and telephones, although physically outside the house, are equally vulnerable to transient surge and must also be factored into the equation when calculating the necessary level of surge suppression for the house as a whole.
Furthermore, it becomes not only necessary, but mission critical for any homeowner using home automation or home theater equipment to invest in this form of protection. Automation systems are in actuality sophisticated electrical subsystems operating within the home’s overall electrical system. Calculating the precise level of whole house surge suppression needed to ensure everything from equipment to home automation programming requires expert electricians with a proven track record in home automation installation, design, programming and equipment. Using a trained electrician is important so your systems work properly.
Saving money on your monthly electric bill is something that everyone can manage with our 10 simple steps!
- Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
The fist simple step is to switch to energy efficient light bulbs. When it comes to saving money, this step can make a real impact and is one of the easiest changes someone can make. According to EnergyStar.gov, “If every American home replaced just one light bulb with a light bulb that’s earned the ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars.”
2. Install Smarter Switches – Motion Sensor Lights
Motion sensor lights turn on only when movement is detected and turn off automatically, a feature that also helps home owners with outdoor security. Instead of leaving outdoor lights on for hours – you simply turn the motion sensors on and if light is needed, it’s provided! Avoid using motion sensor lights indoors in high-traffic rooms such as kitchens – but consider one in low-traffic rooms where you leave the lights on for long periods without noticing. Closets. Guest rooms. Storage rooms. Utility closets. Bathrooms.
- Energy Star Appliances
Making your home more energy efficient with ENERGY STAR can help to reduce high-energy bills, improve comfort and help to protect the environment. “Every appliance comes with two price tags: what it costs to take it home and what it costs to operate and maintain it each month. ENERGY STAR qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies and use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard appliances.” – Energystar Brochure
- Service Your A/C Unit
Your A/C unit should be inspected at least once a year, but also changing your filters every 30 days to maximize your savings. A/C filters as well as their coils are both parts that require regular maintenance. This keeps your air conditioner operating effectively and efficiently. Forgetting these maintenance steps can lead to poor air conditioning performance and increased energy consumption. Instead of replacing your A/C unit every few years – consider regular maintenance as it is far less costly than emergency repairs or a total replacement.
- Unplug Unused Appliances
Did you know that power runs to an appliance when it’s plugged in and turned off? You can eliminate wasted energy just by unplugging any appliance that is not being used. This step may be a hassle, but it will become a routine after doing it a couple of times.
- The Lint Monster! (Your Dryer)
The idea here is to clean out the lint screen in your dryer after each usage. When lint remains on the screen, air does not circulate and it takes longer for your clothes to dry, causing your electric bill to rise.
- Install A Hot Water Heater Timer
We all like hot water, but what about installing a water heater timer? By doing this step, hot water will not be wasted and can be set on a timer for on and off peak times.
- Utility Company Energy Plans
Did you know that if you take part in a Time-of-Day plan with your utility company, could have a lot of saving on a yearly average? It’s important to use your appliances during the restricted times so that you can really benefit from this method.
- Proper Energy Monitoring
Lastly, monitoring your energy usage online can really have it benefits. Monitoring electricity usage helps you understand what is wasting electricity in your home at any given moment. Utilizing this method can save you a ton of money.
- Turn It Off!
Most people simply leave items in their homes on when they’re not using them. Ceiling fans run round the clock during warmer months. Porch Lights keep the backyard lit through the night. Televisions stay on while people sleep or leave the house. Taking time to simply turn things off when you’re not using them will save you a LOT of money in your electric usage.
11. Solar Electrical Energy
Solar electricity once installed is free energy and can be sold back to the utility companies for unused generated solar electricity, also some incentives by the goverment and utility companies may be available. Do it yourself solar electric is possible, but highly recommend using a qualifie licensed electrician.
AZ State Electric can help you understand the best ways to save additional money on your electric bills. So if you’re looking for extra yearly savings, just follow these simple steps or contact us for more information.