In general, saving energy is reducing your electric bill. There are three major ways to reduce the electric bill: 1. Keeping the thermostat as high as possible for the air conditioner; 2. having as high an “R” factor insulation as possible, and 3. by OPTIMIZING THE POWER FACTOR.
Almost all of the other “savings”, such as, lower wattage lights, turning off the TV when not being watched, and the others are really insignificant.
So, what is the major part of the electric bill? It is the “motors” of your house. These “reactive loads” are the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher, and perhaps others.
The Department of Energy said in 1997 that these motor loads were about 40% of the total electric bill of an average house. Radiant heat, such as electric hot water heaters, electric space heaters etc. made up much of the rest. Please don’t use radiant heat unless you have to.
So the term “light bill” is not very true.
The Power Factor
How can we reduce motor load part of our bill? The key is “power factor” and there are devices available to greatly improve it. By improving the “power factor” these motors use much less electricity and have much better efficiency. They run cooler (another benefit) and thus last longer as well.
Power Surge Protection
These devices that improve “power factor” generally provide power surge protection from lightning strikes and power line spikes as well. To be effective it must be installed at the circuit box to protect the entire house. They are not all created equal and it is usually advised that a trusted electrician be consulted before buying one and though it is a simple installation it must be done by a certified electrician.
A good device is worth the investment. Many electronic items IN YOUR HOME as well as their motors can be damaged by power surges.