Earth Watch: Summer Energy Home Audit

When the Henry family moved to Tampa 3 years ago their utility bills were outrageous, up to 500 dollars in the summer months. Last year they made some changes with help from Tampa Electric.
"When we're here we keep it between about 76 and 78. When we're not here we turn it up to 80," said Henry.
"We do recommend 78 degrees when you're here. Every degree below that could increase your bill by 6-8% on the cooling portion of the bill, per degree," explained Abner Martinez Residential Energy Analyst for TECO.
Air conditioning is typically about 40-60% of your utility bill during the steamy summer months. Their AC cools pretty quickly, so TECO suggested bumping up the temperature when they're not home.

"Maybe going to 81 or 82 to try and bring the green portion of the bill down. Fans only use them in occupied areas only. When you're not there turn them off," said Martinez.

The Henrys have two AC units. Eventually they will replace their less efficient one.
"Servicing the unit, doing the things you already been doing. We want you to continue to good practices.  it never makes sense for you to replace something like this out of pure conservation or savings," Martinez said.
Adding insulation to their daughter's room  was a huge plus. They also upgraded to LED lighting throughout the home. "They're a lot less hot too," said Henry.

Now their summer bills are under three hundred and fifty dollars, but they want to save more. Keeping the heat out of the home by closing blinds and covering right skylights during the day is also helpful.
"Add weather stripping on east and west sides of the home. I know you have some dual pane windows in the back," said Martinez.

The Henrys may benefit from TECO's Energy Planner Program.
 "It's absolutely free to try. It's a time of day billing program. It gives you the option to run some of your bigger appliances with the opportunity to run it at a cheaper electric rate," explained Martinez.

Like their pool pump Running it a little less and at night will help them save.
 "Right now you're running 8 hours. Typically we recommend 6-8 hours in the summertime," he said.
Small efficient changes add up. Helping your utility bill and the environment.
"It's a win win win for the customer, the company and the environment," said Martinez.