LCEC continues to offer simple, energy-saving tips that can help keep electric bills down during these unseasonably chilly months in Southwest Florida. It is much easier for customers to lower their electric bill when they understand that there are a multitude of factors that influence energy consumption. Weather, the number of people occupying the home and energy usage habits all affect the bottom line on an electric bill.
LCEC recommends the following energy usage tips to keep bills low when the temperatures dip:
• A programmable thermostat automates the task of regulating the temperature on central heating and cooling systems eliminating the need to remember to manually adjust.
• During winter months, thermostats should be set at 68 degrees or cooler with the fan switch on “auto.” For additional savings, lower the thermostat to 65 degrees when the home is unoccupied or while sleeping. Heating a home costs two to three times more than cooling it. And the cooler the weather, the more the heating system will operate.
• Clean or replace filters on your heating and cooling systems every month. This effort helps the unit run more efficiently.
• Limit the time the pool pump runs in the winter to no more than four hours each day.
• Consider using a space heater for warming just the room that you’re in, instead of turning on central heat for the whole house. If you use a space heater, make sure it has built-in safety features such as a tip-over switch, overheat sensor, low surface temperature and protective screen or grill.
• Be cautious using space heaters. Don’t place them near curtains, furniture, newspapers, combustible materials, or on rugs. Don’t overload circuits. Use portable electric heaters to heat only a small area and buy models that are thermostatically controlled. Don’t use an extension cord to connect a space heater to a plug-in.
• Electric blankets may also be a cost-effective means of staying warm at night. Please use them safely.
• Check the flue of your fireplace is working properly and remains closed when the fireplace is not in use. A closed flue keeps cold air out when the fireplace is not in use.
• Use ceiling fans to distribute heat around large rooms. Reverse the direction of the fan blades from the setting used for summer cooling.
• Don’t use the oven to heat a room.
• Cover bare floors. Carpeting adds to comfort and heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.
• Consider dressing warm in the morning until the sun warms your home naturally.
• Wear layers of clothing rather than one heavy piece. Layers efficiently trap body heat and provide greater comfort. Additionally, the layers can be removed to maintain comfort as the body warms. If you get too hot, remove a layer. If you get cold, put it on again.
• Weather strip or caulk exterior cracks and holes.
• Check your attic insulation to be sure it is R30. It will prevent heat from escaping your home.
• If you only follow one energy-saving tip this winter, make it this one: turn down your thermostat when you leave home for more than a few hours.
LCEC offers customers free online and on-site Energy Surveys including year-round energy advice that can help customers lower their bills even more. To receive energy saving tips visit www.lcec.net.
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