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Hot Weather Is Costing Us Less Than You Think

Hot Weather Costing Less Than You Think?Hot weather is costing us more to cool our homes, but is it really costing us more in the overall amount of energy we’re consuming? To tackle this question, we turn to the latest residential survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Results of their survey, conducted in 2009 (believe it or not) was just made available recently.

The agency’s survey of more than 12,000 residences representing every geographic region and climate in the country showed that the average U.S. household had $2,024 in energy expenditures, up 11.8 percent from $1,810 in 2005.

Strangely enough, the agency says that energy consumption has remained relatively stable for many years as increased efficiency has offset growth in the number and average size of housing units and the increased use of electronics.

Hot Weather Offsetting A Mild Winter?

While average energy consumption dipped slightly over the winter, due to mild weather, the overall trend reflected in the survey is continuing, according to recent estimates by the Department of Energy, based on its short-term energy outlook.

Improvements in efficiency for space heating, air-conditioning for hot weather, and major appliances have all led to decreased consumption per household. Newer homes also tend to feature better insulation and other characteristics, such as double-pane windows, that improve the building’s energy efficiency.

How we use energy in our homes has changed substantially over the last three decades. In 2005, energy use per household was 95 million BTU’s of energy compared with 138 million BTU’s per household in 1978, a drop of 31 percent.

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The survey showed that more than 44 million households now have an Energy Star-qualified refrigerator and that 41 million households have purchased an Energy Star clothes washer.

Nearly every U.S. home has a television, and the number and size of televisions and the devices attached to them have been increasing rapidly, the survey showed. The increased popularity of DVRs is significant because they are replacing or supplementing VCRs and DVD players, which consume less energy per unit than DVRs.

Air conditioners are now standard equipment in most U.S. homes. As recently as 1993, only 68 percent of all occupied housing units had air-conditioning, but the latest survey shows that 87 percent of U.S. households are now equipped with air-conditioning to help them survive the hot weather.

Nearly 90 percent of new homes are built with central air-conditioning. When central air-conditioning is included at the time of construction, installation is easier, and consumers can amortize costs over the life of a mortgage.

In contrast, air-conditioning retrofits or upgrades are often financed separately from a mortgage, over a much shorter time period at higher interest, and may require capital improvements such as the addition of ventilation systems and ductwork.

Don’t forget, Brown and Reaves Service’s Inc., can service your current air conditioning system. If you’re in the market to upgrade to a new energy efficient air conditioning system or heat pump, give us a call for a free no-obligation estimate. And remember to grab our 20% off coupon on your next service call by Liking us on Facebook.

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