Looking to save money on your energy bill this summer? Energy efficiency expert Bobby Difulgentiz joined me recently to discuss just that and offer tips on how you can save on your energy bill this season and prep for the winter!
Candace Rose: What can people do to save money on their energy bill this summer?
Bobby Difulgentiz: "With such a hot summer so far and it's only going to get hotter, a lot of people don't realize that up to 50% of your energy usage actually comes from heating and cooling the home. So when you think about that, I like to say 'focus small and save big'. It really is around three key areas- home maintenance, do-it-yourself improvement, and keeping up with the latest technology."
Candace Rose: What are the latest trends in energy efficiency?
Bobby Difulgentiz: "One of the easiest ways and most impactful things you can do to help save energy is getting a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats have been around for a long while but they've come a long way since then. A good example is the Lennox iComfort Wi-Fi. It's a new programmable thermostat and it works a lot more like consumer electronic products. It's very user friendly and intuitive. The coolest thing about it is you can control it with your smartphone or a website. So when you're away from the house you can make sure that you're not wasting energy, you're not wasting cooling and bringing up those utility bills when you don't need to. You have to remember that every degree that you can set your temperature about 72 degrees can actually lead to 1-3% of energy savings so it's a very, very impactful thing you can do without much effort."
Candace Rose: What would you say is the biggest mistake people make when trying to save money on their energy bill?
Bobby Difulgentiz: "The biggest thing I would say is people think it's too hard; too expensive, and they think they can't do it, and really that's not the case. There's really a lot of inexpensive things you can do that don't take a lot of time. One thing is go to a home improvement store and by some caulk. Walk around your house and make sure there's no cracks. You want to keep cool air in, so any cracks in your windows or your house that lets that escape just kills your energy efficiency.
The next is your air filter. The air filter is ALWAYS overlooked; people forget about it and it clogs up. You need to change the air filter once every three months. A clogged air filter can be a big energy efficiency drain. It's very, very costly and if you just don't do it, you're just not going to maximize your energy efficiency. So those are a couple things that you can do. There's a website: ItPaysToLiveSmart.com. It's a great website, it's got very easy energy efficiency savings- very easy to do cost effective that consumers can go on to make sure they're maximizing their energy efficiency."
Candace Rose: When should homeowners consider replacing their heating and cooling system?
Bobby Difulgentiz: "It depends and it varies. The typical lifetime can be anywhere from ten to fifteen years- sometimes more, it just depends. When you're noticing your energy bills have skyrocketed and you're just not as comfortable in your house as you used to be, that's probably a good time to do it. What I think that you should definitely is make sure that you have planned maintenance of your system. Your AC unit and your furnace are just like anything else they're a machine just like your car and you have to get tuneups, and maintenance, and oil changes- your AC system is no different. So make sure before the summer, before the hot weather hits you get a tuneup of your system- you get it checked out; same thing for the winter, get your furnace checked out. What that does is it allows a professional to come out, take a look at your system and then you know 'okay, my system's ready, I don't need to replace it' or they'll let you know that maybe it is time to look at replacing your system."
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
Bobby Difulgentiz: "The biggest tip is don't be daunted by it. It's very easy and there's a lot of easy cost effective things that homeowners can do to save money. Whether it's going around your house and filling in cracks; changing your air filter or buying a programmable thermostat such as the Lennox icomfort Wi-Fi, it's not as hard as what people think. So check out the website ItPaysToLiveSmart.com, again there's a lot of great tips for energy savings. But the biggest thing is don't be intimidated by it. There's a lot of easy things that can be done to make a big impact."