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Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  We we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Additionally, Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  We are near your home in Plano, Allen, and Frisco.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

two central air conditioner outdoor units

Image Source: ShutterStock

If your DFW home is all-electric (has electric heat), your winter heating costs may exceed summer cooling costs.  Electric heat is a very expensive way to heat a home.  If you are considering replacing the HVAC System in your all-electric home, consider these heating costs below:

Example:  Heating-Costs Comparison — A 2,000 Square Foot DFW Home With 4 Occupants

  • Using a Standard Efficiency Heat Pump 7,450 kWh X $10.98 cents per kWh:       $  810.00 Annual Heating Cost – Heat Pump.
  • Using an Electric Furnace:                           11,775 kWh X $10.98 per kWh:                $1,305.00 Annual Heating Cost – Electric Furnace.
  • A standard efficiency Heat Pump achieves over 1/3 savings in winter heating costs over electric furnace!

Want To Know More About Heat Pumps?

Click Here To Read Part 1 (of 4) Of Our Article About Heat Pumps: AlsPlumbing.com Heat Pump Benefits (Part 1 of 4)

25 Ucommon Ways To Lower Heating Costs

This Article Is Not About Heat Pumps.  It outlines 25 ways to lower your heating (and cooling) costs without replacing your HVAC System.    Most energy-savings articles describe moderate to expensive ways to make a house more energy-efficient.  These are excellent home improvements, but not the goal of this article.

This Article Is Not About Expensive Energy -Saving Home Upgrades.  It describes ways to reduce heating costs with:

  • Low to modestly priced energy-saving products
  • Lifestyle Changes that cost nothing

Cost Guides For Expensive Energy-Saving Upgrades:

  • Add Solar Panels: $10-50,000.  At this price, it’s very misleading to say “Heat Your Home For Free”.
  • Replace Windows: $4-25,000.  Depends on the number, brand and grade of windows chosen.
  • Replace HVAC System with High-Efficiency: $10-$15,000.  It Depends on the size of your home and the efficiency of the new HVAC system.
  • Replace Siding + Add Air-Infiltration Barrier (like TYVEK): $10-30,000.  Depend on size of your home and the siding material you choose.

Ways To Achieve Notably Lower Heating Costs With No To Modest Cost

1. Compare Your Electricity Retailer’s kWh Charge To Other Providers

Go To PowerToChoose.org.

To see electric kWh rates from many electricity retailers.  Plans can be ranked (for cost per kWh).

  • There are 3 rates per kWh:  500 kWh  /  1,000 kWh  /  2,000 kWh
  • Check your previous bills to determine your average kWh per monthly usage.  This will guide you in determining which rate is most important to you.
  • Plans are for 3, 6 or 12 months.  For a fair comparison, filter “Contract Length” so all results are for the same period of time.
  • Check the Monthly Base Charge. **  For low electricity use consumers, the base fee, added to a great kWh charge may not be a value.
  • ** Some plans have a minimum charge which covers a specified number of kWH.  If you use less, you still pay the minimum charge.

Comparing Prices Made Simple:

NOTE: When Comparing Prices, All You Need To Compare The ENERGY CHARGE For Each Retailer + The Base Charge

  • All of DFW is serviced by ONCOR, our electricity Transmission & Distribution provider. 
  • So, The Transmission & Distribution Charge will be nearly identical.
  • What differs is the Energy Charge rate for each Retailer.
  • Compare Rates For Identical Plans: 1. Contract Length &  2. The Number Of kWh You Typically Use Per Month (your past bills will tell you).

 

The Details Below Show The Lowest Priced Electricity Retailer’s Rate Is 

ABOUT 2/3  The Highest Price Electricity Retailer’s Rate.

At The Time This Article Was Written, Research (for zip code 75080) Here Are The Results:

  • A LOWEST Rate =  8.7 cents per kWh (based on 2000 kWh per month).

Plan Information (as stated by the provider):

  • 12 Month Contract
  • Energy Charge =               8.7 cents per kWh

In addition to the Energy Charge, these charges will be added to your monthly bill:

  • Electricity Transmission and Distribution (TDU) Charge  = $0.0368 per kWh
  • Base Charge = $3.49 per month
  • Energy Charge For 2,000 kWh = $ 174.00 + $3.49 (base charge) = $177.49

— TO —

  • A HIGHEST Rate = 12.9 cents per KWH (based on 2000 kWh per month).

Plan Information (as stated by the provider):

  • 12 Month Contract
  • Energy Charge =               12.9 cents per kWh
  • Energy Charge For 2,000 kWh = $258.00 + $9.95 (base charge) = $267.95.   
  • This retailer is +$90.46 more expensive for the same amount of electricity usage. 

In addition to the Energy Charge, these charges will be added to your monthly bill:

  • Electricity Transmission and Distribution (TDU) Charge = $0.03827 per kWh
  • Base Charge = $9.95 per month

Based on how much electricity you use, choosing a lowest cost plan can save you a lot of money.  All electricity is distributed by the same provider (ONCOR).  All the differs is the Electricity Retailer’s per kWh charge & base charge.

2. Seal Your Home’s Air Leaks To Lower Heating Costs (cooling too)

The University Of Nebraska Says: Sealing Air Leaks Can Reduce Heating & Cooling Costs By Up To 40%

Over An Unsealed Home Similar In Size, Age & Type.  

Click Here To Read U of N’s Entire Article: U of N — Save Up To 405 By Stopping Air Leaks

DIY efforts to close up air leaks can have a dramatic impact on both your heating costs and comfort-level inside the home.  We have gone in to some detail to help you identify where the leaks are located (often times they are somewhat hidden) and how much heat & a/c is lost by categories of air leaks.

The Following Areas Are Where Homes Leak Air:

  • 31% Floors, Walls & Ceilings
  • 15% Ductwork (heat & a/c going into your attic)
  • 14% Fireplace (if damper is left open when fireplace not being used)
  • 13% Plumbing Penetrations
  • 11% Doors
  • 10% Windows
  •   4% Bath & Kitchen Venting
  •   2% Outlets & Switches

Source: U.S. DOE

3. Seal Leaks In The Ceilings

You might think “How can a ceiling leak air?”  The leaks are at the openings in the ceiling.   Most older homes have gaps around electrical boxes.  Because these leaks are in the ceiling (heat rises), they present a great opportunity to lower heating costs.

To seal the gaps, use caulk or spray-foam (for gaps too large for caulk).

  • Most DFW homes have HVAC Vents in the ceiling.  Older homes will have gaps around the vents — and not visible due to the vent cover.

Click Here To See Gaps Around Ceiling HVAC Vent: Gaps Around Ceiling Vent

Click Here To See An Example: Gap Around Ceiling Light Box

  • A gap is also common around ceiling bath vents.

Click Here To See An Example:  Gap Around Bath Vent In Ceiling

 

4. Replace Old Recessed Lights

  • One Of The Worst Offenders On Heating Costs Are Old, Vented Recessed Lights.  There are gaps in the ceiling around them + vents within them.
  • Older fixtures have vent holes to allow heat from the light bulb to escape.  They are simply open holes to the attic.
  • Add to that, many have an open gap around them in the ceiling.

Click Here To See An Older Recessed Can Light With Vent Openings (to the attic): Old Recessed Light With Vent Holes

Click Here To See A Common Installation Of A Can Light: Recessed Can Light With Gap In The Ceiling Around It

  • Most of today’s can lights don’t have vent holes.
  • There are non-vented, Retrofit Recessed Light Fixtures that connect by simply screwing their connection into the light bulb socket in the existing fixture.  You don’t have to remove the old fixture!
  • These new fixtures come with an LED bulb available in cool or warm white light.  The fixture shown produces 100 watts of light while using only 12 watts.
  • LED bulbs produce little heat (that your a/c must remove).
  • Once sealed to the ceiling, these fixtures won’t allow heat to rise into the attic in winter, or push heat (from attic) into the living space during summer.
  • These Are An Easy DIY Replacement, No Wiring Required.   They are modestly priced.
  • Because most DFW homes have “Popcorn” Textured Ceilings, you will need to add caulk to seal the new fixture to the ceiling.  Put the caulk around the hole in the ceiling – not- at the edge of the new fixture’s lip.***  Also ensure the new fixture will cover the caulk.
  • Note: *** Caulking as instructed ensures that if the fixture ever must be removed, the damage to the popcorn texture will be covered by the lip of the fixture when reinstalled.

  Click On Photo To: View Product, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

 

5. Seal Leaks In The Walls

photo of electrical outlet

Image Source: ShutterStock

SHOWN: Outlet with large gap between outlet & face plate

6. Outlets & Switches

Just like with the ceilings, the primary locations where walls leak air are at openings.  Note: Sealing air leaks is not limited to outside walls, air gets into the house from interior walls too.

Air Leaks Into The Home:

  • around the outlet / switch electrical box
  • around the actual outlet or switch (2%).  There are Foam Gaskets To Seal That Gap.

Click Here To See A Common Installation Of An Outlet Box In Older Homes:  Gap Around Outlet Box In Wall.

Click Here To See A Common Installation Of An Light Switch Box In Older Homes:  Gap Around Light Switch Box

 

There are two steps to sealing air leaks at light switches and outlet.

  • Add a gasket to close the gap between the switch or outlet and the cover plate.
  • Click Here To See How It’s Done:  Add Gasket 

 

     Click On Photo To: View Product, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

Shown: Gaskets Are Available For Both Outlets & Switches

 

7. Seal Where Plumbing Comes Through The Wall

photo of water and sewer pipes under kitchen sink

Image Source: CanStockPhoto

SHOWN: A Noticeable Gap Exists Around The Black Pipe Where It Enters The Wall.

In older homes, it’s common for gaps to exist where plumbing comes through walls.  These gaps are low in the walls, so cold air will come through the gaps in winter and cold air will exit through them during summer.

Click  To See A Huge Gap Around Plumbing Coming Through The Walls: Gaps Around Plumbing Coming Through Wall

 

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in northeast Dallas, Richardson and Garland.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.