BONIFAY — “Are expensive electric bills draining your wallet?” asked Gulf Power’s Commercial and Industrial Marketing Specialist Tracy Andrews during Bonifay Kiwanis Club’s March 20 meeting. “I’m here to show you a variety of free services provided to help you evaluate your home and conserve energy, which in turn saves you money.”
The first step usually, said Andrews, is to do an energy consumption assessment or as they call it a “home energy audit.”
“We’ve got several free programs and services for you to take advantage of,” said Andrews. “We’ve got the Home Energy Check-up, EarthCents Home, Low Cost to No Cost Recommendations and EarthCents Rebates. The first I will review is the Home Energy Check-up.”
She explained this was a way of them evaluating ways of saving money by reducing energy consumption within the house.
“An energy audit can be performed by someone coming out to your house,” she said. “Or if you’d prefer not to have strangers at your house there are mail-in sheets that can be mailed to Gulf Power and then Gulf Power will provide a written report of recommendations based on the information provided by the customer or you can go to our website for a home energy check-up online.”
She said there is also a free New Home Audit, which allows Gulf Power to review new home plans to make sure it “meets the minimum energy efficiency standard established by the Department of Energy, conduct the Florida Energy Code Calculation required to obtain a building permit and perform load calculation used by your HVAC dealer to determine the appropriate size HVAC system for your new home.”
“Some ways of saving money through energy conservation is a high-efficiency HVAC system, increased ceiling and wall insulation, high-efficiency windows, high-efficiency water heating, at least three Energy Star Appliances, high-efficiency lighting and a more airtight home to name a few,” said Andrews. “There are several simple steps to help save energy.”
- Set thermostat at 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. You can expect a 9 percent increase in energy use for every degree you set your thermostat lower in the summer and higher in the winter. Also consider enrolling in Energy Select.
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees to save energy. Check your heater system to make sure the filter is clean. Do you know that keeping an extra refrigerator in the garage can cost you an extra $150 per year?
- Air getting into your house can make your heating and cooling system run longer to keep you warm. Check around windows and doors to make sure you have good seals, make sure you have enough attic insulation and inspect your ductwork for leaks.
- Today’s homes use much more energy then just five years ago. Phone chargers, computers, game consoles, DVRs and flatscreen televisions, often in many rooms, add dramatically to your energy usage. Remind your family to turn off the television and other electronics when not in use.
“There are also rebates to help you save money on updating your home to be more energy efficient,” said Andrews. “There’s our free Energy Check-up and rebates for Check Me Plus! heating and cooling, water heating, windows, ceiling insulation, roofing, pool pumps, Energy Select, appliances and appliance recycling.”
A few examples of the rebates provided are $75 on an energy efficient clothes washer; $75 on an energy efficient window air conditioning unit; $50 on an energy efficient refrigerator; and $25 on an energy efficient freezer.
“We also have a recycling program that will provide you with $35 for old appliances,” she said. “That’s us paying you to pick up and haul off your old appliances. Also if you convert to gas heating that’s free, we just give you a voucher to go to Lowe’s and pick it up.”
For more information call Andrews at 850-415-4211 or visit their website at www.gulfpower.com.