Lancaster Inspectors Corner – Saving Energy in Lancaster Pa

Welcome Back Readers!  It’s time once again for another installment of The Lancaster  Inspector’s Corner with Matt Steger of WIN Home Inspection.  This week, we address an issue that matters alot to the folks of Lancaster Pa lately, energy efficiency.  With the recent de-regulation of electricity rates causing some people’s electric bills to double, energy efficiency is a growing concern for home buyers.  Matt has some explanation of how those kilowatts affect you, read on after the jump for more!

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With the electricity rates increasing in 2010, finding ways of reducing your energy usage can be of real benefit.  Due to rate limits imposed by the Commonwealth of PA years ago, electric utilities were limited by what electrical rates they could charge consumers.  The limits are about to expire which means the same electric utilities will be charging more for the same energy usage.  It is estimated that electric customers in Lancaster County will see an average rate increase of about 30% compared to prior years for the same electricity usage.  Some other areas of the state may see well over a 50% increase.  Ouch!

Electric utilities charge their customers per the number of kilowatt hours of energy usage.  A kilowatt hour is 1000 watts used for 1 hour.  A watt is a unit of power and a kilowatt is 1000 watts.  Run ten 100 watt light bulbs for an hour and you have consumed 1 kilowatt hour (abbreviated 1 kw hr).  With the advent of compact florescent light bulbs (CFL), consumers can save about 75% on electricity usage compared to using all incandescent bulbs.  So, in comparison a 100 watt incandescent bulb can be replaced with a 100 watt equivalent CFL bulb (same brightness as a 100 watt incandescent bulb) that uses only 25 watts.  While some people don’t like the quality of light provided by compact florescent bulbs, replacing all of the incandescent bulbs in a home with compact florescent bulbs can provide some nice savings each month.

The government created a program called Energy Star which is a joint venture of the US EPA and US Dept. of Energy.  According to the Energy Star website, ‘In 2008, Americans saved approximately $19 billion on their utility bills’ because of the Energy Star program.  A wide variety of household products like computers and refrigerators to TVs and water heaters can earn the Energy Star label if their energy usage meets certain standards for each type of appliance.

The Energy Star program works with product manufacturers as well as retailers and builders to help produce products and build homes that use less energy than similar products from just a decade ago.

Energy efficiency is defined as the ratio of the work something does in relation to the energy consumed to do the work.  A good example is a modern natural gas fired condensating furnace which is typically rated to be 90% efficient.  That means approximately 90 cents of each dollar you spend for natural gas over the course of the year is converted to heat while about 10 cents per dollar goes up the flue as exhaust.  Old gas fired furnaces from the 1970s may have been only 60~70% efficient which means that you may waste 40 cents per dollar up the flue.  That extra 20~30% energy savings really adds up over time especially when you consider current natural gas prices.

The highest energy usage in most homes is generally home heating and cooling as well as water heaters, electronics, and kitchen and laundry appliances.

Next time, we’ll discuss some ways that you can lower energy usage in your home.

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Don’t forget to call Matt Steger at 717-361-9467 for all of your Lancaster County PA Home, Pest, Water and Radon Inspection needs!

As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please comment, forward The Lancaster Connection.com to your friends and subscribe! 

If you have questions, need real estate advice or want to buy or sell a home, you can call or text me at 717-371-0557, email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-490-8999!

Your Friend in Real Estate,

Jason Burkholder

Weichert, Realtors – Engle & Hambright

Search for Lancaster County Homes for sale at www.JasonsHomes.com by clicking here!

 

Want to see what’s happening to home prices in your neighborhood?  Go to www.RealEstateCrystalBall.com !