They say that knowledge is power, and there’s no place where that is more true then when it comes to your monthly electricity bill. After all, understanding how much power each appliance in your home requires and then choosing to operate those appliances during cheaper off-peak hours is a great way to save big money on your monthly bill.
With summer just around the corner, we thought we’d shine some light on the most energy demanding products in a typical Arizona home so that you can make informed choices as the needle starts to climb in the coming weeks.
1. Air Conditioner
Your AC is probably the most demanding and the most used home appliance during the hot summer months. At the height of summer, your air conditioner can account for as much as 50% of your total electricity bill. Consider installing a programmable thermostat with more advanced programming options that can help you better align energy consumption to cheaper, off-peak hours. Many smart thermostats also offer remote access through the internet or smartphone, so you'll have easy 24/7 access when you're away. Another tip for better AC management is the popular pre-cooling technique. Simply program your thermostat to pre-cool your home three degrees below your ideal temperature before the costlier on-peak hours begin. Then at the start of the on-peak time, program your thermostat three degrees above your ideal temperature. The fluctuation will be hardly noticeable, but your AC will be running much less thanks to your preparation.
2. Clothes Dryer
An electric clothes dryer uses about the same amount of electricity as a typical air conditioning unit. As such, doing laundry during costlier on-peak hours can be a very expensive practice. Try saving this chore for the weekend, or later in the evening when electricity is much cheaper. You can also try drying your laundry outside in the abundant Arizona sun with a simple clothes line. It will dry in about the same amount of time while allowing you to avoid purchasing electricity all together.
3. Water Heater
Water heaters are more difficult to manage since you're not conveniently able to shut them off when they’re not needed. You can, however, reduce you water heater’s energy draw by using cold water for less critical laundry loads, or by setting your dishwasher to a cooler temperature. You can even Install and a programmable timer to prevent on-peak heating, or turn down the water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees to save as much as $7 a month!
4. Electric Oven
Next to clothes dryers and AC units, electric ovens really love to gobble up electricity. Waiting until off-peak hours to cook your meals, or preparing multiple meals in advance, can really put a dent in your monthly electric bill. You can also choose to grill your food outside or use the microwave. The cost will be dramatically less and your kitchen will stay cooler as well.
5. Pool Filter
Most conservative estimates show that a typical pool pump can account for more than 10% of a home’s annual energy use. Install a programmable timer to keep your pump from operating during high-cost, on-peak hours. You can also install a variable speed pool pump, which will automatically alter its speed up or down based on the needed amount of cleaning.
Simple behavioral changes can have a big impact on your monthly budget, but don’t forget that we have the most abundant power source in the solar system hanging right over our heads. If you've been thinking about making the switch to solar, now is the time to act! With the 30% ITC coming to an end, 2019 is surely the most important year for solar in more than a decade. Contact one of our qualified solar integrators to start your solar project today!
*This blog has been updated since its original publication date of 3/24/2017.