Recently we wrote about how Xcel Energy has increased rates in its move to time of use pricing. The rate hike triples what hundreds of thousands of customers in and around the Denver area can expect to pay for electricity at certain times of the day.
Inflation, high energy prices, high gas prices – there seem to be countless issues today that put a strain on our budgets. Fortunately, home energy use is one area where you can actually save money with the right mindset and the right tools:
1. Monitor Your Energy Use
Central to Xcel Energy’s switch to time of use pricing is the installation of smart meters. The process of installing smart meters started in the Denver metro area in 2021 and will continue over the coming years.
Xcel will use the smart meters to record customers’ energy use and bill them according to the appropriate time of use rate. If you received a notice that your smart meter has been installed, you can see your energy usage in real time via your Xcel Energy account.
Seeing how you consume energy and how much it costs based on the time of use pricing can help you make smarter decisions that can bring down your energy bill. This may include:
- Making adjustments to how you cool and heat your house (Ex: Try running AC in the evenings while relying on fans or opening the windows during peak hours)
- 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. are classified as on-peak hours by Xcel Energy
- Doing dishes and laundry early in the morning or later at night
- Bathing and showering outside of peak hours (this keeps the water heater from running when electricity is at its most expensive)
Of course, the “classic” energy-saving tips still apply. Simple habits like turning off lights and unplugging electronics when they are not in use can still make a noticeable difference in what you pay each month for electricity.
2. Switch to LED Light Bulbs
So simple yet so easy to overlook, your choice of light bulbs can substantially reduce your energy consumption. LED lighting uses up to 80% less electricity than the old incandescents.
If you want to start saving energy today, swap out incandescent bulbs for LEDs. The efficiency of LED lights will also help to lower your energy bills over time.
3. Set a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats retail anywhere from $20 to $150. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that homeowners can save up to 10% on their annual energy bills by optimizing cooling and heating.
As a rule, you want to limit cooling and heating when your climate control needs are minimal (such as when you are at work and overnight when you’re asleep). With a programmable thermostat, you can literally set it and forget it. Just program in the times you need cool or heated air, and you don’t have to worry about fiddling with the thermostat throughout the day to make the house comfortable.
You can lower home energy use by 1% for every degree you lower your heat or reduce your air conditioning use. If you set your thermostat 10 degrees lower or higher during times when the home is not being used, this will result in energy savings of 10%.
4. Insulate Your Home
Whether you invest in professional home insulation or tackle air leaks yourself by weatherstripping your doors and windows, upgrading your insulation is one of the best things you can do for your home energy usage. An insulated home is an efficient home, and better efficiency means lower energy bills.
You are likely well aware of the areas in your house that either need to be insulated or have old insulation removed and replaced. These are the rooms that are never a comfortable temperature. They’re too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. You might feel a draft or even detect hints of a musty smell.
These issues, combined with high monthly energy bills, are all signs that you may have inadequate or degraded insulation. Strategically improving where your budget allows can have a dramatic impact on what you pay for electricity, especially in the summer and the winter.
5. Consider Going Solar
If you want to save energy, solar power is the way to go. You can significantly reduce and even eliminate your monthly energy bill if you install solar panels. That said, going solar might seem counterintuitive if you are trying to save money.
A number of different incentives, rebates, and rewards can help offset the upfront cost of a solar energy system. What’s more, solar panels can pay for themselves in as little as 5 years.
Homeowners can accelerate their solar savings by doing the following:
- Optimizing the angle of your solar panels
- Ensuring maximum sun exposure (i.e., limiting shade and obstructions that come between your solar panels and the sun)
- Installing a solar storage battery
- Using an app to monitor your solar energy output and consumption
Some of these tips you can implement effectively on your own. Generally, however, homeowners enjoy the highest return on their solar investment when they partner with a professional solar energy company that knows how to install solar panels for maximum efficiency.
Learn All the Ways You Can Save Energy with REenergizeCO
Everybody knows the simple tips for saving energy. But turning off the lights, using less water, and other commonsense habits probably aren’t going to cut it amid the high cost of powering, cooling, and heating your home.
You need comprehensive, long-term solutions. The best way to start is a home energy audit that can assess your electricity use and identify issues that cost you money.
At REenergizeCO, our Energy Auditors apply proven building science principles to assess your home’s efficiency and recommend potential upgrades to help you find ways to save energy and reduce your monthly bills. If you decide to invest in home insulation, solar, and other improvements, we perform quality work designed specifically to help you maximize your efficiency and energy savings.
Contact REenergizeCO today to find a home energy solution that’s right for you. Our team serves homeowners throughout Metro Denver, Fort Collins, and other parts of the Colorado Front Range.
We are here to answer any questions homeowners may have about home insulation, energy audits, and solar power.Contact Us