Once again the mid-state is facing bitterly cold temperatures as cold air pushes through, and Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation officials are reminding members to take precautions to keep their homes warm while minimizing the impact on their electric bills.
“When the cold weather hits, it’s easy to raise the thermostat, but doing that also raises your electric bill,” said MTEMC Communications Coordinator Josh Clendenen. “There are a number of things you can do that can reduce your energy usage both now when the cold weather is here as well as in the future.”
In order to keep the heat in and the cold out, here are a couple of energy-saving tips:
- If your home has southern-facing windows, open the curtains or blinds during the day to allow sunlight to naturally warm your home and close them in the evenings.
- Keep your doors and windows closed as much as possible, to include overhead doors on attached garages.
- Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape the plastic to the inside of your window frames during the cold times. Make sure the plastic is sealed as tight as possible to help reduce the chance of cold seeping in.
- If you are able to, add a bead of caulk to your windows and weather stripping to doors to help seal any potential leaks.
- If you have a fireplace, ensure the damper is closed unless you have a fire burning.
- Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
“These tips are just a few of the things members can do to get through this period of freezing weather while still managing their monthly energy consumption,” said Clendenen.
Below are some additional cold weather tips MTEMC is offering to members:
**Information courtesy of www.energy.gov**
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HEAT FROM THE SUN
- Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
- Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible. That includes overhead doors on attached garages.
COVER DRAFTY WINDOWS
- Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
ADJUST THE TEMPERATURE
- When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
- Use your ceiling fan. Most fans have a switch which allows you to reverse the motor and operate the ceiling fan at low speed in the clockwise direction. This produces a gentle updraft, forcing warm air near the ceiling down to your level.
FIND AND SEAL LEAKS
- Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
- Add caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
MAINTAIN YOUR HEATING SYSTEMS
- Furnaces: Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed.
- Wood- and Pellet-Burning Heaters: Clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heated efficiently.
REDUCE HEAT LOSS FROM THE FIREPLACE
- Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
- When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly -- approximately 1 inch -- and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
- Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
LOWER YOUR WATER HEATING COSTS
Water heating can account for 14% to 25% of the energy consumed in your home.
- Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands.