Mar 272010

We have all noticed how it costs a whole lot more to pay for a tank of gas to fill up our car, truck, SUV, RV and gas-powered lawn mower.

But, what about your home electric and heating bills? Of course you have not noticed any change in your home heating bills because its summer and you are not heating your home. And summer has just started so you haven’t really noticed much increase in your home electricity bills as your air conditioner has not been on that long … yet.

Have you noticed the change in the price of natural gas and home heating oil? To say that they have gone up in the past year would be an understatement. Take natural gas as an example. Natural gas is used to heat many homes in the winter. Did you also know that natural gas is also used as the energy source in many electrical power stations which generate much of our electricity? So, it stands to reason that if the cost of the input for electricity generation is going up, the owner of such power stations will pass on their increased costs to you and I in the form of higher electricity bills.

How much are we talking about? Well, just turn on your television to any of the business news networks and you will see the prices of commodities like oil, home heating oil and natural gas flash across the screen. Still don’t understand?

How about this; the price for natural gas has more than doubled in the past 12 months from less than $6 MMbtu to more than $13 MMbtu (what ever the heck a MMbtu is). Check it out for yourself. If the price of natural gas has more than doubled, what do you think will be happening to your natural gas or home heating oil bills you receive to heat your home and hot water, even with a natural gas powered tankless water heater?

You and I cannot control the price of energy we are charged to keep our homes cool in the summer or warm in the winter. We can control, however, how much electricity, natural gas, home heating oil we consume. If we don’t reduce our consumption of these items then it is on us. All the complaining won’t do any good.

Want some good news? The cost of goods and services to help us reduce the amount of electricity and natural gas we consume in our home has not doubled in the past 12 months. The cost of a tankless water heater, of weather stripping, of a home energy audit, and so on has not gone up by the same amount.

Therefore, the actions we take as well as the money you and I spend on reducing the amount of electricity and natural gas and home heating oil our homes we will receive back in greater energy cost savings sooner that if we had spent the same money last year and the year before that and the year before that and …

The is called ‘financial payback’. If we pay say $300 to purchase and install exterior solar blinds for our east, south and west facing windows, last summer we might have saved say $75 in electrical costs from reduced running of our air conditioner. If we continued to save $75 in the next several years our financial payback would have been 4 years ($300 cost of the exterior solar blinds / $75 reduction in air conditioning costs each year).

But, what if electricity costs double so our electricity savings each year is no longer $75 but $150 for the same quantity of electricity used to cool our home? Then our financial payback on the $300 used to purchase the exterior solar blinds is no longer 4 years but 2 years ($300 / $150).

What about heating our hot water. Say we use a natural gas hot water tank and in the past few years have paid $20 a month, or $240 per year to heat our water. If it costs $2,400 to purchase and install a solar water heater, our financial payback would be 10 years ($2,400 / 240).

However, with natural gas prices more than doubling in the past 12 months, this would change the monthly cost to heat our hot water using a hot water tank from $20 to $40 per month, or from $240 to $480 per year. You can see where we are going with this, right? In that situation, and we are in that situation now, the financial payback to install the same solar water heater is now 5 years ($2,400 / $480).

The cost of a shade tree planted against a south facing wall no longer seems as costly. It will provide the same shade to our home and reduce the same amount of electricity consumption by us not needing to run our air conditioner as much. Yet, the dollar savings is doubled because the cost of electricity we used in our home is soon to double. You just watch.

There are many, many inexpensive and east, as well as not so inexpensive and not so easy things we can take action on and do to reduce the amount of electricity consumed in our home year round as well as the amount of natural gas or home heating oil we consume to heat our home in the winter.

Don’t just focus on driving less to save money at the gas pump. Focus as well on home energy conservation activities too! The financial payback just became in the past 12 months very, very sweet!

To see what home energy conservation activities we have and are continuing to do in our home home, simply visit our blog, Daily Home Renovation Tips, using the link below.

Author: Dan Powell
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Provided by: Pressure cooker

Dan Powell

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