Well, Houston, the days have finally come. The summer is over and the sun is still shining. And the sidewalks can’t cook eggs anymore. But, looking forward to the cooler temperatures means that we also have our Fall To-Do list. In order to prepare our homes for the fall and winter, the Houston Chronicle has a complete list of items that should be addressed.
Preparing your home for the change in seasons with these energy-saving tips
By StoryStudio September 24, 2020 12:29 PM
Across Southeast Texas, the earliest days of autumn are often indistinguishable from summer. Temperatures are still high, and air conditioning is still on full blast. As Texans begin to look forward to the gradual winding down of the lingering summer heat, this is the perfect time of year to think about your home’s energy efficiency.
Whether you’re buying a new home or looking to improve your current home’s energy efficiency, we spoke to the experts at Entergy Texas to find out more about how you can prepare your home for the coming months.
Energy savings for new homes
If you’re in the market for a new home this season, Entergy has developed a program to help you make sure you’re buying an energy-efficient home. Through the Entergy Solutions High-Performance Homes Program, Entergy works with custom and production home builders to enhance their energy savings solutions.
“Homebuilders must agree to advanced building practices that culminate with a home that is performance tested and demonstrated to be measurably more efficient than the state adopted energy code,” said Kelley Carson, Energy Efficiency Program Manager at Entergy.
Energy-efficient features of new homes may include tight construction to eliminate drafts and moisture, high-performance windows, tight ducts, energy-efficient appliances and lighting, and a higher efficient HVAC system.
“Energy-efficient homes not only save money in the form of utility costs over the lifetime of the home but are also more comfortable,” said Carson. “Fewer temperature swings throughout the day, better temperature homogeny throughout the home, and better noise isolation from outside are all beneficial byproducts of an efficient home.”
Prospective homebuyers can find a list of participating builders on Entergy’s website.
Check your HVAC system
As we transition away from the summer heat, this is an excellent opportunity to give a little TLC to your HVAC system. Your home’s HVAC system should be regularly maintained, and if it’s ten years old or older, it may need to be replaced.
How do you know if your system needs to be replaced? “Noisy equipment, hot and cold spots, humidity problems, and excessive dust are other telltale signs that an HVAC system might need updating,” said Carson.
Through Entergy’s HVAC Distributor Program, customers have access to trusted contractors who can install high-efficiency HVAC equipment in your home at reduced costs, including energy-efficient air conditioners, heat pumps, and mini-splits. Contractors also perform maintenance checkups which typically include: checking thermostat settings, tightening connections, lubricating moving parts, and checking the condensate drain, evaporator and condenser coils, and refrigerant levels. “Annual pre-season checkups are recommended to keep cooling and heating equipment in tip-top shape,” said Carson.
There is one simple way everyone can improve energy efficiency in their home: “The number one thing homeowners can do is inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month,” advised Carson.
Maximize the energy efficiency of your pool
In Texas, we love our pools. In fact, Texas ranks in the top three states for the number of in-ground and above-ground pools. If you own a home with a pool, you know you’ll be able to get extended use out of it due to the long Texas summers. What you may not know is that your pool can also present significant energy (and therefore cost) savings.
“Pools are incredibly popular in this area and pool pumps are often a home’s second-largest energy user,” said Carson, “therefore they represent an opportunity for tremendous savings. And it is important to Entergy to return value to our customers in the form of incentives for popular products that provide tremendous benefits over their life-cycle.”
Pool pumps last about seven to ten years on average. If your pump needs to be replaced, it may exhibit some of these warning signs:
- Does not seem to be as powerful
- Continuously makes noise
- Gets hot and shuts off
- Hums or buzzes but will not start
- Starts slowly
The Entergy Texas Pool Pump Distributor Program provides incentives for ENERGY STAR qualified, variable speed pool pumps. With ENERGY STAR certified pool pumps, homeowners can expect to use up to 65% less energy and save up to $450 a year on their energy bills. Homeowners should ask their dealer for the Entergy pool pump incentive.
Quick fixes for an immediate boost in energy efficiency
When cooler weather approaches, it’s important to keep in mind a few quick and easy-to-implement tips to improve the energy efficiency of your home:
- Utilize warmth from the sun by opening blinds and curtains to allow the sunlight to heat your room naturally
- Check your windows and doors for air leaks and caulk to seal
- Adjust the temperature and lower it when you are asleep or not at home; utilize a programmable thermostat to make this simple change even easier
- Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees
- Use LED lights when decorating your home for the holidays
“Cooling may dominate our utility bills throughout the summer season, but there is plenty of waste (and therefore opportunity to save energy) Fall through Spring,” said Carson. “Money saved through efficiency measures taken all year can help take the sting out of summer cooling bills.”
For more information on how you can improve your home’s energy efficiency and save money with Entergy Texas, click here.
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