How to Save Part 1: Around the House

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

With a changing economy, and a growing number of layoffs, West Texans are looking for ways to save their cash. NewsWest 9 asked the experts how you can save some cash at home.

"A typical house, you're going to get aboutt 70%, the other 30% is going to be wasted energy," Master Electrician Bob Doody, said.

The lights, the plugs, the buttons, and motors: they all add up to a hefty electric bill.

Conveniences we don't want to go without, but with help from a few local energy companies, NewsWest 9 found some ways to cut back each month. We decided to start at the top.

"In a regular house, 40% of your energy loss is out of your attic," Kyle Clark, with KC'S Energy Solutions, said.

The experts say your attic is 30 degrees warmer than the outside temperature, so you might consider a radiant barrier.

"This radiant barrier is at 88 degrees. Without it, it's at 106, with it, it's at 88. Do the math, think about it. 106. 88," Clark said.

Or you could try some extra insulation. 19 inches will keep your house cooler and the air conditioner from working as hard. And speaking of the air conditioner.

"The biggest thing you can do as a homeowner to save money on your heating and cooling bill is change your filter," Diron Rotan, with D&D Heating and Air Conditioning, said.

Pull it out and pop in a new one every 30 days.

"A 20% reduction in airflow can result in a 50% reduction in your capacity and efficiency, so you're saving a lot," Rotan said.

But if you forget too often, it could really be a pain in the wallet.

"Thousands, thousands. To change a compressor out can run you $3,000," Rotan said.

A water heater timer allows you to set the exact hours you need hot water. The rest of the time it shuts off and slows down your electricity bill. A local energy company developed a power conditioner that makes all these motors use energy more effectively.

"That's what the motor is," Doody said. "It's inefficient. Look what we've done to it. We've doubled it. Now we're using 60% of the electricity coming in effectively."

Another way to save some cash is by keeping the outside unit clear of plants and debris.

"Keeping it clear, keeping it going, you're looking at 20%," Rotan said.

And you can also upgrade to a programmable thermostat.

"You'll see the savings right away," Rotan said.

Tune in to NewsWest 9 @ 10 on Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 for Part II of this series.