Winter Energy Efficiency Tips
Steps to help lower your bill when temperatures start falling!
Set your heating system thermostat to 68ºF (or even lower if you can bear it) and bump it down to 56 - 60ºF when you leave for an extended period of time. Setting the thermostat lower will keep your heating unit from working as hard to overcome outside temperatures. Keeping your home cool at night - and bundling up with blankets, socks and warm pajamas - can help you keep your bill a little lower each month.
Take advantage of solar energy! Open curtains on your south-facing windows during winter days to allow free heat into your home. Close window coverings after the sun goes down to avoid losing that heat!
REVERSE your ceiling fan and make sure it is rotating in a clockwise direction. Where running it counter-clockwise during the summer pushed hot air up and created a "wind chill" effect, setting the fan to clockwise for the winter will push warm air down and "trap" it where you want it! (BTW, set the rotation speed to a low level. You don't need a wind tunnel! Just enought to continually push the warm air down.)
Check your insulation levels. If you can see the ceiling joists in your attic, chances are you don't have enough insulation. 12 inches is a good rule of thumb. That equals approximately R38 - the recommended level of blown or batted insulation. Look for "peaks and valleys" where the insulation may have settled or shifted. You want to have a smooth coverage across all attic areas that are above your living spaces.
Also, look for any gaps around your doors or windows. Caulking and weatherstripping are inexpensive fixes to avoid heat loss. If you are in an older home and have single pane windows, consider either replacing your windows with double pane windows or at least installing storm windows.
Replace filters on a monthly basis. Have your HVAC unit servied regulary. If your unit is more than 10 years old and it has difficulty keep your home at the set temperature, have it checked. You might find that it is time to replace it with a new unit with a higher SEER rating (higher efficiency.)
Set your water heater to 120ºF.
Use a power strip to turn off multiple electronic devices when not in use. (TVs, DVD players, etc.)
Wash and dry only full loads. (Don't overload your washer or dryer but it takes about the same amount of electricity to wash and dry a single items vs. a full load.)
Have a certified HVAC technician inspect your home's ductwork for leaks. Sealing ductwork leaks can keep the cooler from escaping before it gets into your house.
Insulate your water heater. A water jacket heater makes your water hear function more efficiently.
For more information:
Joe Holmes, Communications and Public Relations Coordinator