As winter draws near these tips will help to ease the strain on your bill
EPHRATA, Wash. – Ready or not winter is coming. Even though we can’t control what the weather will bring, there are steps you can take to minimize the increase in electrical usage that typically accompanies colder temperatures. Consider these tips to prepare for winter so you can stay warm without sacrificing comfort or wasting money.
- Prepare your home:
- Schedule a service visit for your central heating system to see what maintenance is required to keep it operating efficiently.
- Ensure your central heating system has a properly fitted and clean air filter installed.
- If you have a heat pump, avoid switching your system to “E Heat” or “Aux Heat” as most heat pumps can provide heat to your home even as temperatures dip into the low teens.
- Close or plug your foundation vents. This will keep your home warmer and help protect against frozen water pipes.
- Check the weather stripping on exterior doors and windows. Adjust or replace if worn or missing.
- Cover drafty windows and permanent wall-unit air conditioners by using a heavy-duty clear plastic. The plastic should be sealed tightly to reduce cold entering your home.
- As colder temperatures arrive, close drapes in the evening and on overcast days to help retain heat within your home. Ensure your drapes do not obstruct heat registers.
- Adjust the temperature:
- When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as comfortably possible.
- When you are asleep or out of the home, turn your thermostat down even further. A programmable thermostat can help you adjust your heat to match your schedule. If you have a heat pump it is recommended to not drop your thermostat lower than 4°F below your normal heat setting.
- Lower the heat setting on your water heater. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 18 percent of a household’s energy consumption is from water warming. Keeping your temperature at 120°F will help you see small changes in your energy bill.
- Lighting choices:
- Replace incandescent lighting with energy efficient LED lights.
- Use timers and motion sensors to reduce the operating hours of interior and exterior lights left on for security purposes.
- Inquire about Grant PUD’s programs to further manage your bill by calling 509-766-2505:
- Grant PUD offers low-interest loans for energy-saving upgrades on windows, heat pumps and insulation for site-built homes.
- Special rates for low-income seniors or those with a qualifying disabilities. These households may be eligible for up to a 20 percent discount on their electric bill.
Also, remember the number of days in the billing cycle can vary from one to four days each month. Each additional day in the billing cycle can mean as much as a 3 percent increase on your bill. Conserving energy can save you money and help all of us make the most of our energy resources.