Manage wintertime energy bills with these easy, cost-saving strategies
A chill in the air means Clarksdale residents are turning on the heat to keep their homes cozy. While it’s normal for heating bills to rise during colder months, Clarksdale Public Utilities is sharing simple steps to help customers gain more control over electricity costs this winter.
“Heating uses more energy than any other system in the home, typically making up more than 40 percent of an average residential utility bill,” said Curtis D. Boschert, CPU general manager. “Taking a few simple steps to improve energy efficiency can make a difference on bills, and most of these tips are easy and inexpensive to implement.”
Simple yet cost-effective adjustments include keeping thermostats set at 68 degrees, sealing cracks around windows and doors and taking advantage of solar heat.
During cold weather, CPU recommends that customers focus on making their homes more energy efficient by taking these simple steps:
• Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows.
• Keep vents open and uncluttered to maximize airflow efficiency.
• Replace furnace or heat pump filters once a month or as needed.
• Keep fireplace dampers closed when not in use.
• Use a programmable thermostat to reduce waste heat.
• Install energy-efficient light bulbs that use less power and last longer.
• Turn down your water heater temperature to the warm setting (120°F).
• Open blinds during the day to take advantage of solar energy and close at night to retain heat.
• Unplug electronics when away from home. Some appliances and devices use energy even when turned off.
Take these simple steps to protect pipes during freezing weather:
• Let cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes.
• Insulate vulnerable pipes and install outdoor faucet covers.
• Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around pipes.
• Keep garage doors closed, especially if the garage contains water lines.
CPU also reminds customers to minimize heating-related hazards. If you use a fireplace, make sure the damper or flue is open before starting a fire and keep a fire extinguisher handy. Never use gasoline, kerosene or charcoal starter. Start fires only with dry kindling, newspaper or pinecones and make sure fires are completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
Before turning on space heaters, keep in mind that they tend to consume a lot of electricity and can create fire hazards if not operated properly. They work more effectively when used in smaller rooms and should be operated only when people in close proximity can benefit from the heat being produced.
Space heaters should be placed only on flat, level surfaces at least three feet from anything flammable, including papers, clothing and rugs. Never leave space heaters unattended, and don’t let children or pets play too close to a space heater. Plug electric heaters directly into wall outlets instead of using extension cords or power strips, which can overheat and cause fires.
Customers may visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website at www.energy.gov and select the “Save Energy, Save Money” link for more information about improving the energy-efficiency of their homes.
Clarksdale Public Utilities is a municipally owned utility serving approximately 6,800 homes and businesses in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Its mission is to safely provide sustainable electric, water and wastewater services in a reliable and courteous manner by well-trained team members, committed to top quality, efficient operations, competitive rates and the vitality of the community.
Learn more at http://cdpu.net.