Get the jump on Old Man Winter in nine easy steps

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Old Man Winter

With winter fast approaching, members often ask, how can I lower my electric bill?  Well, in heating season we all naturally use more electricity, but there are several ways to reduce your use and maximize savings.

1. The most important thing you can do is set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter.  For every degree you set your thermostat above 68, you are adding 3 percent to your heating cost.  On average, heating accounts for 50-55 percent of your electric bill.

2.  Make sure that you change your filters monthly; a dirty filter makes it harder for your unit to run efficiently.

3.  Run your ceiling fans in reverse which helps keep the warm air lower and circulated in your home.

4.  Open drapes and shades during the daytime to catch that free heat coming from the sun.  Close the drapes and shades at night to keep warm air trapped inside the home.

5.  If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed when the fireplace is not in use. If the damper is left open, a lot of heated air will escape up the chimney.

6.  Proper insulation in your attic can help as well.  The standard for many years was to have an R-18 value.  Today the value should be around R38-R40.  Adding insulation is one of the least expensive things you can do to reduce your energy use.  The return on investment is usually two years.

7.  Make sure all of your windows and doors have good seals around them.  A crack you can see through is almost the same as leaving a window or door open.  Heated air goes out of your home and cool air comes in, reducing your comfort.

8.  Make sure your duct work is in good order.  Crimped or leaky ducts can lose heated air. Instead of it going into your home, all that good heat could go under your house or into your attic.  Look at it this way:  You can have the most efficient car, but if you have a leak in the fuel line you are not going to get very good gas mileage!  The same can be said for your duct work.  Make sure it is sealed at the connection points.

9.  Lastly, make sure you have your HVAC unit serviced at least twice a year by a certified HVAC technician.  Keeping your unit in good working condition will help you save money in the long run. 

For more energy saving tips, visit our web site at blueridge.coop or call us at 800-240-3400.