“When the cold weather like this hits, it’s easy to raise the thermostat, but doing that also raises your electric bill,” said Middle Tennessee Electric 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.”
To keep the heat in and the cold out, here are a couple of energy-saving tips:
• if the home has southern-facing windows, open the curtains or blinds during the day to allow sunlight to naturally warm the home, and close them in the evenings.
• keep doors and windows closed as much as possible, to include overhead doors on attached garages.
• when at home and awake, set the thermostat as low as is comfortable.
• use a ceiling fan. Most fans have a switch 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 floor level.
• seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes or plumbing penetrations, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
• add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
• on furnaces, Replace the furnace filter once a month or as needed.
• for wood- and pellet-burning heaters, clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure the home is heated efficiently.
• use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape the plastic to the inside of window frames during the cold times. Make sure the plastic is sealed as tight as possible to help reduce the chance of cold seeping inside.
• drip faucets overnight to help reduce the chance of freezing pipes.
• anyone with a fireplace should ensure the damper is closed unless there’s a fire 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. Also, check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
• when the fireplace is used, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox, if provided or open the nearest window slightly – about 1 inch – and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50-55 degrees.
• lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees. Water heating can account for 14-25 percent of the energy consumed in a home.
“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.
For more energy saving tips, visit mtemc.com/coldweather or energy.gov.
Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. is a member-owned nonprofit cooperative that provides electricity to more than 220,000 residential and business members in Williamson, Wilson, Rutherford and Cannon counties.