Lower your power bill this winter with home energy improvements

2:11 PM, Feb 3, 2009   |    comments
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Floridians may not experience cold winter weather like in other parts of the country, but when the temperature does drop, it’s important that your home is ready. Home energy improvements will make your home more comfortable and can have a big impact on lowering your power bill. Not only will you reduce your energy use, you may actually get paid for making such changes.

If you’re not sure where to start, Progress Energy Florida suggests beginning with a free Home Energy Check. A Home Energy Check provides residential customers with a comprehensive analysis of energy consumption, and will help you identify and evaluate cost-effective energy-saving measures for your home.

Such energy efficiency recommendations may include a thorough examination of your air duct system. It is estimated that one-third of all heating and cooling is wasted at leaks in the joints of your duct work. Because of this you could be heating and cooling your attic or garage, or even worse, pulling the hot air from your attic or garage into your home. This can both increase your electric bill and have a negative impact on the air quality in your home. A simple test can determine if duct repairs need to be made. Progress Energy Florida will pay for half of the cost of the test and the first $150 for any identified repair costs.

A Home Energy Check can also determine if your home has proper attic insulation. Proper insulation can mean significant savings on your heating and cooling costs. Typically homes more than 15 years old are less likely to have adequate insulation. Your home’s attic is exposed to the hot Florida sun eight months out of the year and if you don’t have enough insulation in your ceiling, that hot air can filter into your living space causing your a/c to work hard to cool your home. If your Home Energy Check determines you need to upgrade your insulation, you may save even more – up to $100 for attic/ceiling insulation. If you live in a home with exterior block walls, you should consider injected foam wall insulation and you could qualify for up to $300 from Progress Energy.

Another way to lower your power bill is by installing a high-efficiency heat pump. A heat pump is one of the most cost-efficient heating systems you can buy. It can cut your heating costs in half if you are currently using electric resistance heat (strip heat). If your home already has a heat pump, upgrading its efficiency will also reduce your heating costs. Plus, when you upgrade to a high-efficiency heat pump, you can receive as much as a $350 incentive from Progress Energy Florida, making your home more economical than ever.

One the simplest ways to lower energy costs is to install window film. In the winter, window film traps indoor room heat for increased comfort and in the summer, it helps to reduce the amount of heat from the sun that enters your home. Available at home improvement stores, window film can be an easy do-it-yourself project.

Other ways to add value and energy savings to your home include professionally installed high-performance windows or window screening. When you invest in any of these window upgrades, you may receive from Progress Energy a rebate up to $250 on replacement windows and up to 50 percent of the cost on window film and screens up to $100. You’ll also protect your valuables from the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays; you may even be able to reduce the size and cost of a new HVAC system due to the increased efficiency of your windows. Remember, if you are considering a new heating and air system, upgrading your windows at the same time is strongly recommended to maximize your energy-efficiency advantages.

If you’re thinking about building a home, Progress Energy and Florida home builders have teamed up to design and build energy-efficient homes under a program called Home Advantage. Whether you are in the market for a single-family home, condominium or a manufactured home, Home Advantage ensures your new home will be constructed in a truly energy efficient manner offering you long-term energy savings, increased comfort and potential for higher resale value.

To sign up for a free Home Energy Check and learn more about Home Advantage or any of the energy efficiency programs and rebates from Progress Energy Florida visit www.savethewatts.com and start saving today!

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