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Anne DeGraw
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september 2, 2016
what are a home's five biggest energy users? (they might surprise you)
appliance efficiency tips and understanding how time of use affects a home’s demand
PHOENIX – For many children “turn off the lights!” is a familiar parting expression from parents as they leave a room. Today, as households are replacing inefficient incandescent bulbs with high efficiency LED and CFL lights, customers have begun to look to the rest of their home appliances for ways to save on energy costs.
 
The list of the five biggest energy users in the average home today comprises the air conditioner, pool pump, water heater, clothes dryer and oven. Managing a home’s energy demand is tied to when and how major appliances are used.
 
Air Conditioner: “It’s as easy as 1-2-3.” For every 1 degree AC units are turned up customers can save 2 to 3 percent on their cooling costs monthly. In addition, APS offers rebates through Participating Contractors for customers looking to replace an older AC unit with a more efficient one, for repairing leaks in their duct systems, or for an advanced AC tune up.
 
Pool Pumps: To save up to 50 percent of a pool’s energy cost – as much as $150 a year – APS encourages customers to install a variable-speed pool pump using the $100 instant rebate offered by APS through participating pool pump retailers. Using the pool pump calculator shows potential customer savings and a list of participating retailers.
 
Water Heater: During the long, hot Arizona summer most people have heated water coming out of their tap whether they want it or not, and this can be used to a customer’s advantage. Turning the electric water heater temperature setting down during the summer can mean big savings on water heating costs. Heating water accounts for about 90 percent of the energy needed to run a washing machine.
 
Clothes Dryer: Running clothes through an extra spin cycle in the washing machine will save energy by cutting your drying time in half. In addition, using the heat buildup from the dryer and drying like-weight laundry loads consecutively helps save energy and is gentler on clothing.
 
Oven: Saving energy when cooking means customers can truly have their cake and eat it, too. Using glass baking pans to cook faster and lowering the baking temperature by 25 degrees means casseroles come out quicker and energy bills come out lower. By holding off on heat producing chores, such as cooking, until cooler, off-peak times of the day customers can save money.
 
Understanding ways to make these energy-heavy appliances more efficient can allow customers, especially those on a demand rate, to take advantage of big savings. Knowing how much energy these appliances use, and practicing efficiency, is important to a customer’s overall savings. But for customers on a demand rate, when and how you use these appliances is even more important, and can make an even greater impact on a customer’s ability to save.
 
APS customers use the most amount of electricity in the afternoon hours during the summer months, when they are getting home from work, cooling down their homes and cooking dinner. This energy spike on the power grid is referred to as the APS peak. Energy is more expensive during system-wide high use times (on-peak hours) and less expensive in the morning and late evening (off-peak hours).  For this reason, APS’s demand rate plan allows customers to save money by shifting their appliance use to off-peak hours and staggering the use of major appliances during on-peak hours. 
 
APS currently has 120,000 customers taking advantage of this rate plan and a study shows 90 percent of those customers are saving money. Managing a home’s demand can be done with small behavioral changes.
 
It’s simple: set the pool pump to run at night, and shift chores like laundry to weekends (always off-peak!) or in the evening. For high-efficiency homes with a programmable thermostat, precooling is a great option. 
 
For more energy saving tips and to learn more on appliance energy use please visit aps.com.
 
APS serves about 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, and is the Southwest’s foremost producer of clean safe and reliable electricity. Using a balanced energy mix that is nearly 50 percent carbon-free, APS has one of the country’s most substantial renewable energy portfolios, and owns and operates the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the country’s top power producer and largest producer of carbon-free energy. The company is also a proven leader in introducing technology and services that offer customers choice and control over their energy consumption. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW)