THOMASVILLE — While the outside temperatures are mild, it won’t be long before cooler winter temperatures arrive. Colder weather increases energy usage for most residential customers, which can translate into higher utility bills. With this in mind, the city of Thomasville encourages customers to implement easy and affordable ways to save on their energy usage now that will pay off later.
“When cooler weather hits our area, our customers will utilize more energy which will have an impact on their monthly utility bills,” Stephan Thompson, the city’s energy services advisor, said. “We want to encourage our customers to take advantage of the milder weather now to implement these easy and affordable energy efficiency tips that can help them save money in the coming months.”
Thompson said that many of these tips have little to no cost to implement.
“Now is the time to prepare your home so that higher energy usage has a smaller impact on your monthly utility bill,” he noted.
Some helpful tips for the cooler winter months include:
· Set your heating thermostat between 66-68 degrees. If you are away from home, set it lower or turn it off completely. Customers can save 6-8 percent on their utility bill for every degree they lower their heating unit.
♦ Install a programmable thermostat to save up to 10% on heating costs. The average cost of a programmable thermostat is less than $25.
♦ Turn off lights, appliances, and electronics when they are not in use. A power strip can help turn off multiple items at once.
♦ Close warm air supply registers for rooms that aren’t in use.
♦ Check your windows and doors for leaks. Caulking or weather-stripping on doors and windows can help seal air leaks and prevent cold air from coming inside.
♦ Clean/change your heating/air conditioning system(s) filters regularly.
♦ Take advantage of heat from the sun by opening shades and drapes for sun-facing windows to let the sun help heat your home. Close these at night or during overcast days to help insulate your home from the cold.
♦ Dress in warmer clothes and use additional layers to help insulate and keep in your body heat. Adding extra blankets to your bed at night can also help keep you warm.
♦ Cover drafts where you can. An easy and inexpensive way to cover your windows is with heavy-duty clear plastic sheets on the window frame. Just make sure the plastic is tightly sealed to the frame.
♦ Reduce heat loss from your fireplace. Make sure the damper is closed unless you’ve got a fire burning. Otherwise, warm air can escape through your chimney. If you don’t use your fireplace at all, plug and seal the chimney flue.
♦ Change to new and improved light bulbs. LEDs use 90 percent less energy than standard bulbs, saving you more than $80 in electricity costs per bulb over its lifetime. And LED bulbs can last up to 15 times longer than standard bulbs.
♦ Fix leaking toilets and sinks. The average dripping faucet can cost you $22 per month while the average leaking toilet can cost you almost $45 per month.
Thompson says that aside from helpful tips, the city of Thomasville provides several other ways customers can take better control of their home energy costs.
“For customers who want to better understand their energy usage and look for ways to lower costs, we provide online tools,” he said. “The Energy Resource Center can be found on our website at Thomasville.org. This helpful tool offers residential customers the ability to make use of television, appliance, and heat pump calculators that analyze their energy use based on simple information they provide.
“We also provide free energy audits to our customers to help them find ways they can save on their energy bills. Energy audits have helped some customers to see monthly utility bill reductions of nearly $100, all from making small changes in their daily utility consumption. Preparation is the key to achieving energy efficiency during the winter months. Small adjustments can yield big savings in the long run.”