Energy Saving Tips for the Winter Season
Winter has definitely arrived. It can be difficult to keep our homes comfortable when daytime temperatures stay below 20 and nighttime readings drop well below zero. Wind Chill is also a factor. We all want our family to be warm without the electric bill climbing.
“This time of year it is common to see electric bills go up because homeowners use more electricity to heat their homes,” says Steve Zach, Energy Efficiency Supervisor at Nebraska Public Power District. “However, homeowners can take steps to reduce these costs during the winter season.”
There are a few easy and inexpensive tips to keep warm and reduce energy consumption.
Let’s start with the easiest. Most people use a ceiling fan to provide a cooling breeze during the summer. Simply flip the switch to reverse the direction and warm air near the ceiling is dispersed throughout the room. Ceiling fans should rotate clockwise during the winter months. This simple tip can help cut your heating costs up to 10 percent.
Next, turn down your water heater. Again, it doesn’t cost anything to do but it can save money. Typically, water heaters are set to 140 degrees when installed. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees usually provides enough hot water and won’t burn your skin or wallet.
Replacing your furnace filter is another easy one. It is easy to forget, but it helps your HVAC system run more efficiently and saves you money.
Program your thermostat. Typically, heating (and cooling) your home accounts for the majority of your energy use. According to Energy Star, homeowners can save about $180 a year by properly setting their thermostats and maintaining those settings. For every degree you lower the thermostat, you’ll save between one and three percent on your heating bill. A programmable thermostat is a low-cost investment that typically pays for itself in a year or two if you often forget to adjust your thermostat.
Stop the leaks around doors and windows by using caulk, weather stripping, or a layer of plastic.
Schedule a tune-up. Help your HVAC system work more efficiently for you. NPPD, in partnership with its wholesale utility customers such as Custer Public Power, often offers an EnergyWise incentive to homeowners who have their HVAC system tuned-up.
And about those lights: switch both your inside and outside lights to LED bulbs and consume 80% less energy!