Winter Energy Tips
We’ve spent this month focusing on Bill Shock and the impact of winter weather on your utility bills if you have solar panels. December and January are disruptive months. As we wrote about in our last post, if your panels are producing little to no energy after a snow storm, chances are your system is functioning normally. That being said, you may still be looking for strategies to lower your energy bills during these low production months. Here are some quick things to look for to help you out. Performing a self-audit and making some small changes can make a difference in your consumption.
Check for Vampires
Many of the electronics in your home consume energy even when not turned “on.” Energy consumed while your electronic device is not in active use is known as Standby Power and, according to the Department of Energy, it can account for 5-10% of overall residential energy use.
One of the biggest culprits besides your computer, cell phone charger and coffee maker? Your DVR player. That’s right! Your DVR has a watt usage rate that can rival some refrigerators! Fear not: many new DVRs have a power-save mode that you can turn on. You can set your DVR to go into power-saving mode after a select amount of hours. Worried about your shows recording? Don’t! Your DVR will still record, even when in power-saving mode. It’s a win-win for all.
As for your other vampire machines, consider investing in a few advanced power-strips and plugging in key appliances for extra savings. Want to know more? Here are some tips from a post we wrote about on this topic last year.
Remember Your HVAC
Remember that when your HVAC system is working hard, your energy consumption is steadily climbing. Quick and simple checks on your system can assure that your HVAC isn’t taking more than it really needs to keep your home comfortable this winter. Start with your air filters and make sure that they are changed at the regularly recommended intervals. Consider also your temperature settings and how they are managed. A programmable thermostat does so much more for your home than you may suspect! Finally, consider the layout of your home. Are there any vents being blocked by furniture? Are there hardwood floors that could be covered with a rug or two? Want to know more about how to get the most out of your HVAC this winter? We’ve got tips for that, too!
Get the Most Out of the Sunny Days
It’s not so strong for your panels, but the daily sunlight that we get during this time of year is likely still strong enough to light up a room during the day. Don’t forget to open the blinds and let the sunlight in on sunny days. Making a habit of keeping the lights off when they are unnecessary can make a big difference in your energy bills!
Audit your Appliances
February is a great time to purchase a new appliance thanks to a lot of President’s Day sales that seem to last all month long. If you are in the market for a new major appliance, consider purchasing one with the Energy Star label. Our upcoming blog posts next month will touch on this more. In the meantime, take stock of your major appliances. How old are they? Do any carry the Energy Star label?
We know that winter presents plenty of frustrations, and solar panel owners are not immune. We hope that this month’s energy tips have been helpful to you. Knowing what to expect, combined with a few strategies to make the best out of the challenges winter presents, can make all the difference in how you experience the winter months and can help you lower your utility bills in the low production months. Ready for some good news? We’re gaining a little bit of light every day. The sun is getting stronger and spring is on the way!
Have questions about your panel performance in the winter months? Give us a call. We’d be happy to check over your system and ensure proper function!
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