Air-conditioning units, pool pumps, electric water heaters and refrigerators are the four biggest energy-users in the home, and keeping them in efficient working order is the key to being economical in the summer.
The bar graph included in your NV Energy bill that shows monthly energy consumption is the easiest way to see how your house is enduring the harsh desert heat. If the graph indicates a big increase in usage from last year at this time, especially given this cooler-than-average spring, you might have a problem.
NV Energy’s free one-hour home inspections evaluate air-conditioning, large appliances, insulation and duct work and recommend solutions for savings. Common mistakes the company’s energy consultants find include people trying to keep their homes too cool, well pumps not holding pressure, pool pumps working too hard, insufficient insulation in the attic and open fireplace flues.
New residents with swamp coolers also sometimes overuse them. “Running the central air and swamp cooler at the same time is a bad idea—they’re fighting each other so all their units are running 24/7 nonstop,” says Lalo Meraz, a NV Energy consultant.
Setting the thermostat to 78-80 degrees and changing the air-conditioning unit’s filters monthly are relatively easy ways homeowners can save, says John Berg, another NV Energy consultant. An annual tuneup for the air-conditioning unit, especially if it’s more than a decade old, is also essential. Planting shade trees on the west side of the home, installing ceiling fans, using energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights and upgrading insulation are other tips for conserving energy.
Call 402-5555 to make an appointment for an inspection. Go to nvenergy.com for more tips on saving energy in the home and to sign up for MYAccount, which provides additional free tools to track energy usage.