Combine Energy Upgrades: The Snowball Effect

Why is my energy bill so high?

“Why is my electric bill so high?” As most of you know, energy is currently billed in tiers. You start off each month in a low tier where each unit of energy is cheap. If you could stay in this low tier all month, energy bills would be pretty easy to manage. As you consume energy you move into the higher tiers where each unit costs more, sometimes twice as much! The quicker your energy use pushes you into the high tiers, your charges will “snowball” into a crazy-high electric bill.

You can undo that snowball and push it back to multiply your savings! Start by addressing the worst offenders.

Biggest Energy Hogs:

In Southern California, we are all about air-conditioning and swimming pools! The energy used by an air-conditioner usually contributes the most to a high energy bill followed by the pool pump.

  1. Make sure your AC is not an ancient energy hog. New energy-efficient ACs use much less energy, keep the house a more consistent temperature and have a longer lifespan.
  2. Use less AC with a whole house fan. If using the AC is the biggest energy bill offender in the first place, you could use it up to 90% less with a whole house fan which is far more efficient than an AC since it uses morning and evening outside air to cool the house, walls, furniture, attic and people!
  3. Keep that cool/warm air inside by upgrading your attic insulation. There is no point putting in the time, money and effort to cool your house if cool air is leaking out. Upgrading attic insulation can be one of the wisest investments for a homeowner since it lowers utility bills and increases the value of your home. Don’t forget about radiant barriers in hot climates. They keep the heat from the roof out of the attic.
  4. A new variable speed swimming pool pump can make a world of difference to high summer electric bills. In order to keep your pool clean, the water has to move most of the time. A new pool pump can reduce the energy used to circulate the water by 75%. It’s a must-have for a pool owner with high energy bills!
  5. The icing on the cake: Solar! (but less of it) You can stop with energy efficient updates and move forward with lower electric bills, maybe saving over $1000 per year. Or, you can go one step further and have zero electric bill. Solar can be a big investment but if you combine solar with less expensive energy saving upgrades, the solar needed to offset your bill should be significantly less.
Combine Home Energy Upgrades

Shrink Your High Electric Bills or Eliminate Them Altogether!

Finding the Sweet Spot: Obviously, you want to spend the least amount of money on your energy upgrades and achieve a fast ROI that will lead to very significant savings over time. The cherry on top the icing on the cake: When you combine services with Curley’s Home Services, you’ll get a discount on each service! You may only need some of the improvements suggested or different upgrades entirely to realize the most long-term savings. Charles Curley Sr. has many years’ experience working with homeowners to find the savings sweet spot. Call him today to chat and set up a time to go over your potential savings.

Free Home Energy Evaluation Click the button to email or call us today! We will discuss a no-pressure, no-obligation evaluation today.

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Residential Title 24 for Homeowners

Title 24 Residential Homeowner

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If you live in California and are planning on a home remodel, renovation, room addition, or even certain appliance changes, you should be aware of energy compliance regulations for the current year. Alterations that may trigger Title 24 compliance include any changes that impact the energy performance of the home such as room additions, remodels and equipment upgrades.

Believe it or not, this set of regulations was introduced in 1978 as part of a mandate to reduce California’s energy consumption. It applies to new building as well as changes to the existing building. You can read more about the 2016 Standards at the California Energy Commission website.

The official documentation is convoluted but the actual regulations are really quite reasonable such as attic insulation R-factors and window U-factors which are mandatory in new products on the market today.  In most cases, if your renovation requires a building permit, a compliance report should be submitted with the building permit. The best method to ensure a home improvement project meets Title 24 standards is to work with an energy improvement contractor who is familiar with building permit documentation and Title 24 compliance.

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QuietCool Whole House Fan: Savings Case Study

If you are a typical Southern California homeowner looking for the fastest way to stop sending hundreds of dollars to SDG&E or SCE, consider a QuietCool fan. A QuietCool whole house fan offers a quick return on investment (ROI) and is financially within reach of most homeowners. For an initial cost of $1000 – $3000 it may only take 1-2 years to earn that investment back while saving on air conditioning bills immediately.

The main contributor to high electric bills for most homeowners in Southern California is AC usage. AC use may start in April with a few 80°F – 90°F days and really kick in during June continuing well into November for some areas.

The QuietCool fan uses much less electricity than a typical AC unit, even when running for many hours daily. The fan works by replacing AC use whenever the outside temperature is comfortable. When the temperature is right, shut off the electricity-guzzling AC, open a few windows on opposite sides of the house and turn on the fan. If you try to do this using only ceiling fans, the house will remain hot from heat radiating off walls and from the attic. Only a whole house fan is strong enough to replace the inside air every few minutes. Walls, furniture and the attic will be chilled from the moving air.

Ideal fan run times for a June day in Southern California:

Southern California June Temperatures by Hour

Some people use the fan in the morning and evening only and others run it all night long. Cool air chills the house and attic so that the AC does not turn on during the warmer temperatures in the middle of the day (see the dark green stars  illustrating this scenario). Many homeowners choose to leave their windows open and run the fan all night or install a smaller upstairs/bedroom fan for extended nighttime use (light green stars ).

Quick Case Study: In late 2012 the author of this article installed solar at a 70% usage offset meaning I had to pay for the remaining 30% of my usage to SCE. After I installed a QuietCool whole house fan in late 2014 and got in the habit of using it correctly, I am now at 100% offset meaning I have little or no electric bill for the entire year.

[Specs: I am part of a family of four living in a 2400 sq. ft. home with a pool. In October 2012, I installed a 6.37 kW solar system. By late 2014, I installed a 4700 CFM QuietCool whole house fan.]

Even with solar installed, my total electrical usage for June 2013 was 908 kWh. After I installed the QuietCool fan, my usage in June 2015 dropped to 442 kWh; a 51% drop:

Electric Bills Before and After QuietCool Fan

SCE Tiered PricingKeep in mind that the impact on an average non-solar bill would show a greater percentage drop in price because more usage would be billed at a lower rate. This is why using a QuietCool year-round is shown to save up to 90% in AC usage bills. Saving on electric bills is not just a matter of reducing usage but strategic usage to avoid the highest rates!

If you would like to review your yearly electric bills, fill in the form on the right or call 760.533.6045 to learn more.

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California Upholds Net-Metering

Net-Metering 2.0 California Upholds Net-Metering

California Upholds Net-Metering

Great news for existing and potential solar customers! You may have heard the scare for the past year about “Net-Metering 2.0”. Many people, us included, feared that the utilities would make owning solar more difficult by changing the net-metering laws.

Currently, whatever excess energy is produced by your home solar panels is sent back on the grid and you are compensated for it at the same rate that you use it from the grid.  As you can imagine the utilities would like to eliminate that policy and nearly did:

“After two years of rancorous debate, California’s Public Utilities Commission upheld net metering by a vote of 3-to-2, allowing homeowners with solar panels to keep selling the excess power they generate back to their utility at the full retail rate.”  ~ source: Reuters, read more here.

New solar customers will see a slight increase in the cost of going solar, so we have not escaped Net-Metering 2.0 entirely:

“Solar customers will have to pay a new fee of between $75 and $150 to connect a system to the grid, and will be required to move to time-based utility rates, paying more for power during peak hours. They will also be required to pay monthly fees of about $6 for certain utility programs.” ~ source: Reuters, read more here.

Overall, the state’s utility commission has sided with solar customers not the big utilities.

Many potential customers find going solar is a bit like buying a used car; navigating slick salesmen and over-inflated claims of savings. Please contact Charles Curley for an honest no-pressure assessment of your current energy bills, proposed solar system, and most importantly, your projected return on investment.

Posted in Energy News, Solar

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