Winter Energy Tips
Energy use is at its highest in the Tennessee Valley in the summertime. But cold winter temperatures also bring increased energy use and higher bills. Indeed, for most customers, heating and cooling costs are the largest drivers of their AUB bill. Consider these tips to reduce energy consumption and, thereby, energy costs.
Open and Close Your Curtains: Open your curtains on the south side of your house during the day. The sun sinks approximately 30 degrees to the south in the winter and will provide significant heating during the day. Close all other curtains day and night to help stop heat loss.
Seal Your Windows: Check the outside edges of your windows for air gaps. If cracks exist, re-caulking is one of the most cost effective measures that you can take. Storm windows are very cost effective if applied over single pane glass, especially if a vinyl gasket is used. Clear plastic can be applied to the interior of your windows to seal against air infiltration for very little expense. New plastic window seals kits are now available in which a hair dryer is used to shrink the plastic until clear. Most building supply stores keep these kits in stock.
Seal Your Doors: The best way to seal a door is with weather-stripping and a threshold. A towel at the bottom of the door will suffice as a temporary measure.
Wrap Your Hot Water Pipes: Foam tubes make for a very easy and effective insulation and can be purchased at most building supply stores.
Check Your Attic Insulation: The most important thing to do to keep heat inside the house is to insulate the attic. Make sure there is at least 6 inches of insulation in the attic or an R-value of 19. If additional insulation is needed, bring the level up to an R-value of 30. The depths of insulation materials will vary.
Set Your Thermostat at 68 degrees: Set your thermostat at 68 degrees unless a danger of hypothermia exists. Wear several light layers of clothing instead of one or two bulky garments.
In an Unoccupied House: Set the thermostat back to the lowest setting to keep pipes from freezing when the house will be unoccupied for an extended period of time.
Clean Filters Regularly: Clean and wash reusable filters monthly. Replace fiberglass filters monthly also.