Energy costs are high this time of year, so in recent weeks we’ve been talking about ways to stay comfortable and keep the costs down in your home. In this blog we’ll talk about the cost of running some things – like portable heaters – and also how you can get rebates for a variety of energy-saving measures.
SPACE HEATERS CAN ADD UP
In a cold snap like we’ve been having, many people opt to use an electric space heater to keep the temperature in part of the house a little more comfortable. However, depending on how much it is used, that can turn into a costly addition.
Recently we talked with Dan Kinnaman, energy adviser at the Grays Harbor PUD, who said that most space heaters switched on high use 1,500 watts of electricity. With our current cost of electricity at 8.73 cents per kilowatt/hour, if that heater was on for an entire day it would cost $3.14. Now that’s not too bad if there is a two-day need to make things more comfortable in your home, but if a space heater is used for an entire month it adds up to nearly a hundred dollars! That’s just for one space heater. And, that’s in addition to the rest of your energy bill for the month.
If you do have a space heater, for your wallet’s sake try to use it just when you really need it – perhaps for a half hour when you are getting dressed and ready for the day.
REBATES AVAILABLE FOR APPLIANCES
We mentioned last week about rebates available for some new appliances. However, in case you missed that blog, we thought we’d reiterate that Grays Harborites can get a small rebate for purchasing various ENERGY STAR-rated appliances.
The Grays Harbor PUD offers rebates for ENERGY STAR refrigerators ($10), freezers ($15), and clothes dryers ($25). In addition, a washing machine with an IMEF rating of 2.38 or greater is eligible for a $30 rebate. You may want to double-check with the folks at the PUD’s Energy Services before you buy. (Give them a call at (360) 538-6383.) While ENERGY STAR-rated appliances may cost more upfront, over time they can lower your energy bill.
WINDOWS, INSULATION REBATES
New energy-saving appliances aren’t the only thing you can receive rebates for. As we’ve preached for years, weatherization makes a big difference in the energy use – and comfort – of a home. The Grays Harbor PUD also offers rebates for certain new windows and insulation.
Before you get too far – and certainly before you buy anything – check with the folks at the PUD for the specifics of the program. The first step is for a free energy audit of your home to see if making changes in your insulation, windows or doors would facilitate an energy savings.
To be eligible for new windows, the house cannot already have vinyl windows. But, if you have single pane wood or aluminum frame windows, you very likely might be eligible to receive the rebate of $3 per square foot of window space replaced. The new windows must have a U value of .30 or lower.
When it comes to insulation, after an energy audit indicates that additional insulation would make a difference in the house, the PUD will rebate 50 cents per square foot for an attic that has no insulation and 25 cents per square foot of insulation for an attic that already has some insulation. The 25 cents per square foot of insulation rebate is also potentially available for wall and floor insulation, Kinnaman said.
While the amounts of the rebates aren’t that high, every bit of savings makes a difference. And, while you are doing something good for your home, it’s nice to save a little money in the process.
HEAT PUMP REBATES
The Grays Harbor PUD also has a rebate program for people installing regular ducted heat pumps into their homes. Heat pumps are great for this climate and offer consistent, clean heating and cooling year round.
To be eligible for a heat pump rebate, the current primary heating system must have electricity as the primary heat source. If the current primary heating source is oil, natural gas or propane, the homeowner is not eligible for the rebate. The rebates range from $500 to $1,200, Kinnaman said, with heat pumps replacing forced air furnaces receiving on the higher end, because the energy savings are more.
For a ductless heat pump, the rebate is $900, after a pre-inspection and energy audit of the home. (The average ductless heat pump costs about $4,200).
Here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor, we’re big fans of heat pumps in our climate. They have many attributes that we will address in next week’s blog. In the meantime, wear layers, fix any drafts and stay warm in your homes!