Electricity bills spike during the summer and winter months, and living in Orlando makes no difference. It might not be freezing, but winter cold still requires a bit of heating, and Florida summers can be unbearable without air conditioning. Your electric bills are bound to go up during those two seasons, but there are ways to keep them in check.
Insulate Your Home
Extreme cold or heat won’t matter too much if your house is properly insulated. Insulation cuts your electrical consumption by keeping your home cool during the summer and warm during winter. Heat transfer occurs mostly through your roof, so proper roofing insulation will make the biggest difference. If your roof has seen its share of seasons, consider replacing them with more optimal material.
Get modern tile roofing, particularly ones with curved shapes. Curved tiles provide an additional layer of air that limits heat conduction. They also create a natural ventilation system as heated air is channeled to the top and replaced by cooler air. Insulating your home can cut your electrical consumption by as high as 30 percent, especially during hot or cold months.
Opt for a Proper Furnace
Relying on central heating is more efficient and safer than using electric space heaters. Electric heaters cause a large number of fires during winters, and they will hardly save you money. Space heaters can heat a small room at best, and heating one room with electricity can cost about the same as heating your whole house using a gas furnace.
Check Your HVAC System
Ventilation problems can sometimes cause problems in your heating and cooling systems. Get your HVAC system regularly checked, particularly for leaks and blockage. Your air conditioning units also need regular maintenance to perform at their optimum levels. Have them cleaned by professionals twice a year, and schedule one session a few weeks before summer.
According to the Department of Energy, an HVAC system running at optimum capacity can cut your power consumption by up to 30 percent. Regular maintenance will also ensure your system lasts longer while keeping it covered by warranty.
Switch to Newer Appliances
Every year, every appliance in the market gets more and more energy-efficient. US standards on energy consumption are getting higher every year, and most companies strive to get that Energy Star label into their products. It may be time to switch to newer appliances, particularly for your air conditioning unit, refrigerator, freezer, and washer. Newer versions of these appliances use inverter technology, which can drastically reduce their power consumption.
Florida is a great place for solar energy. 240 days of clear skies make solar panels work at their finest, and the lack of snow eliminates the need for clearing them up during winter. Solar technology has also developed to new heights during the past few years. Their efficiency and durability have increased while their prices have dropped. A 10-kW solar power system that can cover the consumption of most 3-4 bedroom houses only needs 30 solar panels.
The higher efficiency and the need for fewer panels have caused the price of systems to drop. Today, a 10-kW system only costs $9,000-$12,000. With a 10-year loan (at 6-8 percent interest), the savings on your electric bill should cover your monthly premiums. The Solar Investment Tax credit (which cuts your purchase cost by 26 percent) has been extended until 2022, making it essential to get your panels as soon as possible.