Costs are rising for just about everything (including energy) as inflation continues to plague the country’s economy.
You’ve probably paid the most attention to gasoline and diesel prices so far, but your home utility bills are also getting more expensive as temperatures soar this summer.
There are many ways to invest in your home to make it more energy efficient, saving on utility bills over time, and we’ve rounded up several that range from quick, easy and affordable; to more dramatic improvements to your home.
We’ve listed them in order of upfront costs to you, the consumer, though it’s important to keep in mind that some of the more expensive investments offer the biggest savings in the long run.
Take advantage of free services
You already pay a monthly utility bill, so you might as well take advantage of the free services offered by many utility providers.
In Oklahoma, utility providers like Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., Public Service Co. of Oklahoma, and others offer a variety of services to their customers, ranging from free inspections to air conditioning tune-ups to by the new bulbs. Some services are available to all customers, while others are provided to households that meet certain income requirements (more on all of this in the following sections).
Customers can also sign up for utility-provided programs that encourage energy conservation during peak hours. OG&E and PSO offer a variety of options, and information about these programs can be found on each company’s website.
Change your bulbs
One of the cheapest options for improving your home’s energy efficiency is to replace incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient LED bulbs.
LED bulbs range in price from $11 for a four-pack of 60W dimmable bulbs to $32 for an eight-pack of 75W dimmable bulbs, depending on brand and retailer promotions. But these bulbs can last up to 25 times longer and consume much less energy than traditional bulbs.
You’ll find a variety of estimates on how much you can save on your energy costs, which are highly dependent on the energy rates where you live. According to PSO, a typical Oklahoma residential customer can save up to $45 or more per year by replacing just five of the most used lights in their home with ENERGY STAR® qualified LEDs.
And in case you forgot the first tip in this story, take advantage of the free stuff, be aware that there are currently programs in place by OG&E and PSO to provide customers with free LED light bulbs.
OG&E offers bulbs through a free energy balance of the house it offers its customers once every 10 years. Participating retailers in PSO’s service territory offer up to $2 in instant rebates per bulb.
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Change your power strips
Another easy and inexpensive change is to replace power strips throughout your home, especially those used for heavy users like TVs and computers.
“Advanced” power strips, which can cost anywhere from $20 to $40 (or more, depending on your needs) reduce power consumption by shutting off power to products when they go into sleep mode.
Experts say standby power consumption in the average home ranges from 5% to 10%, and the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory estimates that this may account for around 1% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
You can redeem gifts if you are an OG&E customer who participates in its energy balance assessmentwhile PSO offers its customers a discounts up to $22 on every advanced power strip a customer purchases.
Inspect and repair your home’s weatherization upgrades
Weatherization upgrades that could help increase a home’s energy efficiency include caulking around doors, sealing leaky ducts, adding attic insulation, and caulking around windows/doors. /lamps.
According to homeadvisor.com, caulking around doors can cost an average of $275, depending on the number of doors to be sealed, while it can cost an average of $5 to $18 per linear foot of caulking that could be used to seal window frames for a home, plus labor costs if someone is hired to do the job.
All can improve your home’s efficiency and prevent heat loss from your home, or perhaps more appropriately during the summer – the unwanted entry of Oklahoma heat from outside.
OG&E offers support through a weatherization program it offers free to customers with an annual household income of $60,000 or less when they own or rent single-family homes, duplexes, or mobile homes (landlord approval for renters is required).
The utility also offers these customers leaky duct inspections and sealing, additional attic insulation, caulking around light fixtures and other upgrades worth about $2,500.
PSO also offers customers who live in single-family residences with household incomes of $55,000 or less weatherization inspections and upgrades.
“If you qualify, we’ll send a company out to do an energy audit and find issues that, when fixed, will automatically make your home more comfortable where we pay for those repairs,” PSO spokesman Wayne Greene said.
Improve your air conditioning
A properly functioning air conditioning system consumes less energy.
For example, if your system is dirty, it won’t circulate the air equally, which means your device will run longer than if it were clean. The same goes for having the proper freon levels.
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Homeadvisor.com says a typical service on a home heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system costs between $75 and $200 or more, depending on the size and age of the system and whether or not freon is needed to rise. the efficiency of the system.
PSO offers customers who choose to have their system serviced at the start of each summer a discount of up to $75.
OG&E offers free tune-ups for the operation of air conditioning systems (using its approved contractors) once every three years (and will provide Freon free of charge once every 10 years) to customers who own or lease residential property with a permanent foundation.
Buy and install a Wi-Fi thermostat
Wi-Fi and “smart” thermostats help improve home energy efficiency by allowing homeowners to adjust temperatures throughout the day and reduce energy consumption.
If you’re not at home, let the temperature rise. Need to refresh yourself during the hours you spend at home? Adjust this temperature from your phone before you leave your desk.
Costs vary for these types of thermostats, but if you are a PSO customer, you can get a $75 off when they purchase a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat.
Wi-Fi programmable thermostats are also useful if you want to take advantage of the energy transfer programs offered by him and OG&E to save you money during the summer cooling season.
Replace your windows, doors
One of the most expensive and laborious improvements to your home is replacing windows and/or doors.
But these changes can save a lot of energy and money in the long run.
OG&E Senior Program Manager Toney Cooper estimates that upgrading windows to double-glazed models in a 1,500-square-foot home could cost the homeowner around $7,450, but in return, the buyer could expect to save 4,250 kWh per year, or about $455.
OG&E offers its customers discounts $50 per window and $100 per door.
Completely replace your HVAC system
Another option a homeowner might choose is to completely replace the home’s heating and cooling system.
OG&E’s Cooper said the average cost for a 3-ton HVAC replacement unit is around $9,450 (price may vary depending on its seasonal energy efficiency rating and brand).
Upgrading to a more efficient unit, Cooper said, could save the buyer 140,938 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of use over its 20-year lifespan, which would translate to savings of more than 15 $000.
PSO offers its customers discounts ranging from $200 to $800 on new high-efficiency air conditioning or heat pump systems.
And while these major upgrades can be expensive, they often give homeowners “the best value for money,” said Chris Roman, a certified energy manager who works for a California-based company that upgrades. commercial air handlers for large energy consumers.
Participate in your utility provider’s energy saving programs
OG&E and PSO also offer their residential customers ways other than making physical changes to their properties to save money on their summer air conditioning bills.
OG&E offers its Smart Hours program from June 1 to September 30, allowing registered customers to save money by reducing or shifting some of their energy use from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday (the peak demand period public service during the summer months).
OG&E also offers customers with Wi-Fi enabled thermostats an “If this, then that” program that prompts the thermostat to adjust its warmer temperature whenever it receives a meter alert that the cost of electricity is reaching some cost.
PSO offers the same type of programs to its customers through an hourly rate option that works like OG&E’s from June 1 through the end of October, as well as its Power Hours program that adjusts an HVAC system’s Wi-Fi-connected thermostat up to 4 degrees warmer during declared peak usage events (up to 16 times during summer cooling season). Customers registered for Power Hours receive an end-of-season incentive of $25 per thermostat and can disable individual alerts, if desired.
Business writer Jack Money covers Oklahoma’s energy and agricultural beats for the newspaper and Oklahoman.com. Contact him at [email protected] Please support his work and that of other Oklahomas journalists by subscribing to The Oklahoman.