Posted on: January 1, 2021
Use these energy-saving tips to help you save money while staying warm and safe this winter:
Cover drafty doors and windows
Special plastic sheeting kits come with handy pieces of plastic and double-sided tape you need to secure drafty windows. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce air flow. Use a hairdryer on the plastic to vacuum the seal. You can also replace worn weatherstripping, adjust the door thresholds for a tighter fit, and get a door sweeper that will help block out larger drafts. If a playing card fits the crevice of an outside door or window, you need more weather stripping.
Close your curtains and blinds at night
Temperatures always drop more at night due to the lack of the sun’s energy. Close your curtains at night to reduce the chill you may feel. It may even be worth the investment to get heavier drapes that will provide you with more thermal protection. Don’t use a permanent solution, such as heavy landscaping, because opening the curtains and letting the sun in will warm your home during the day.
Adjust your thermostat
Set your thermostat for 68 degrees. Each degree above that adds to your cost, and setting it higher won’t heat your home any faster. A five-degree lower setting will conserve energy when you plan to be away for many hours.
Reduce heat loss from your fireplace
Make sure your chimney is clear of any debris and inspect your damper to make sure it opens and closes as needed. Be sure to close the damper tightly whenever the fireplace is not in use. Also, invest in tempered glass doors to prevent the warmed air in your home from escaping up the chimney while the fireplace is operating. Most importantly, if you don’t use your fireplace at all, have it professionally plugged and sealed.
Reverse your ceiling fan
Look for a small toggle switch on the fan. After switching it, the blades should be running clockwise. To make sure, stand directly under the fan. You shouldn’t feel a breeze. Running the fan in reverse creates an updraft that sends warmer air pooled near the ceiling back down into the living space.
Use LED holiday lighting
Holiday lights can dramatically increase your electric bill. LED lights are more energy-efficient and last longer than incandescent bulbs. LEDs are also much cooler so there is less risk of fire or injury. LEDs use less power so it’s possible to connecting multiple strings end-to-end safely.
Protect your water pipes
If your pipes aren’t insulated, run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Even better, save money in the long run by insulating all pipes. Also, open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
Avoid unsafe heating sources
Households without utility heat often rely on unsafe heating sources, such as kerosene heaters, kitchen stoves or ovens, electric space heaters, and neglected fireplaces. Avoid these methods! Contact your utility company or Dollar Energy Fund immediately so we can help you restore and maintain a safer heating source.
Be prepared for inclement winter weather and shut offs
Always have extra blankets, flashlights, portable radios, and a supply of fresh batteries on hand if the power should go off. Report outages to your utility company immediately and get help. (Do not call 911 to report a utility outage.)
Winter storms and ice may cause downed power lines
If you see a downed power line, immediately call your utility company and/or 911. Do not touch trees or limbs on power lines. Stay away from all objects and puddles near power lines. When crews arrive, give them plenty of space to do their work.
Safety is the #1 priority
Check your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors to ensure they are operating properly. Make sure your natural gas meter is visible at all times and accessible for maintenance and emergency responders. Where possible, use a broom instead of a shovel to clear snow away from the natural gas meter to prevent damage. Keep flammable items away from heating vents and sources, such as bedding, clothing, curtains, and rugs.
Sources: Peoples Natural Gas; AEP Ohio; Columbia Gas; PA Public Utility Commission