Save money on winter utility bills

BROOKHAVEN, Pa. - November 10, 2008

The audit was part of PECO's Usage Reduction Program for low-income customers.

But the problems that auditor Mike Berrini found and the solutions he suggested can be useful to anyone who wants to save money this winter.

First, Kariuki suggested replacing the Kariuki's 30-year-old heater... rather than repairing it.

He said the same thing about the 17-year-old refrigerator... Because newer models are much more efficient.

He explains that there have been several improvements compressors since 1993.

"A refrigerator that before would cost you up to $200 a year to operate will now cost you about $50, " he said.

He added that the savings are often enough to cover monthly payments for a new appliance.

Berrini also checked out the crawlspace under the house.

It wasn't a lot of heat was leaking from the ducts before that heat could get inside.

But the biggest surprise came when Berrini hooked up a giant fan that measures how much outside air could be pulled through the house.

It indicated a major leak upstairs. It turned out that a closet built into an attic dormer by the Master Bedroom had a foot-square hole in it.

Matthew Kariuki said he had no idea that hole existed, though he had covered up a similar one he found in another upstairs closet.

Berrini figures about $15 worth of heat each month flowed through that hole to the outside

In all, by replacing the heater & fridge, insulating the crawlspace, and repairing the hole in the closet, Berrini figures Kariuki could cut his energy bills 30 to 35%... Or about $100 a month this winter.

To qualify for a free PECO energy audit, you need to be a low-income customer with unusually high monthly bills.

But PECO's website has step-by-step instructions on how to perform your own audit.

Or you can contact one of the contractors below to have a professional audit done on your home. It could turn out that the savings that result from the audit could cover the audit's cost.

Infrared Energy Services 215-913-1125 My Energy

B & B Services (Bucks County) 215-257-7030 B & B Electrical Services website

Carroll Energy Solutions (Philadelphia) 215-990-4140 Carroll Energy Solutions website

Energy Services Group (Wilmington, Del.) 800-908-7000 Energy Services Group website

Green Saver (Avondale, Pa.) 302-383-2000 Green Saver website

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