As Temperatures Fall, Progress Energy Offers Tips to Lower Energy Usage, Costs
With winter temperatures across the state falling dramatically this week and heating systems working overtime, Progress Energy encourages home owners to take control of their monthly electricity bills.
Progress Energy does not anticipate problems meeting increased demands during the frigid weather but encourages customers to use energy wisely every day. Here are some tips:
- Keep the thermostat at the lowest comfortable setting. Progress Energy recommends 68-70 degrees. Every degree above 70 degrees increases energy costs by 3 to 5 percent.
- For a heat pump, adjust the thermostat in small increments to avoid the operation of the supplemental heat strip in your system. Energy consumption is much higher when the heat strip is in use. A steady setting on a heat pump thermostat produces constant comfort and minimizes the use of the less efficient resistance heat strip.
- Set your thermostat back 10 degrees at night or when you're out for long periods during the day (8-10 hours). Doing so can save as much as 10 to 20 percent in heating costs. Programmable thermostats can automate this process, saving time and money. Put an extra blanket on beds and wear sweaters inside to help stay comfortable.
- Install the thermostat on an inside wall and away from windows and doors, to keep it from overcompensating and running continuously.
- Keep the fan on your central heating unit set to the "auto" position. Leaving the fan on all the time can add $25 a month to the electricity bill.
- Clean or replace filters every month. Dirty filters can increase operating costs by 20 percent by making the system work harder to provide warm air.
- Use ceiling fans in winter to distribute heat around a room. Reverse the fan direction from summer cooling.
- Close the fireplace damper when not in use.
- Make sure registers and returns are not blocked by furniture or draperies.
- Use insulated or heavy curtains on windows facing the north side of the house. Keep curtains and shades closed at night and on cloudy days.
- Caulk, seal and weather strip all openings from the home to the outside. Eliminating air leaks can save up to 10 percent in energy costs.
Some other general efficiency tips include:
- Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. (CFL), which save 75 percent in energy costs compared to incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
- Wash clothes in cold water using special cold-water detergent. The cost of an average wash load using hot water is about 40 cents. An average load washed in cold water is about 1.5 cents.
- Wash full loads of dishes. Dishwashers use 15 gallons of hot water. Washing by hand could use as much as 20 gallons.
- Turn the electric water heater off if you're going to be gone more than three days.
- When baking, turn off the oven about 1520 minutes before the end of the cooking time. The leftover heat in the oven will finish the job if the door is not opened.
- Turn the range element down to simmer as soon as the food begins to boil. This setting maintains cooking temperature, cooks food more evenly and saves energy.
- Use a microwave to heat your food whenever possible. Microwaves use less than one-half the power of conventional ovens and foods cook in about one-fourth the time, greatly reducing cooking costs.
- Consider replacing older appliances with energy-efficient Energy Star-rated appliances.
Additional energy-efficiency tips and information on how customers can save money on their energy bills this winter can be found at www.savethewatts.com and by using the Lower My Bill Toolkit at www.progress-energy. com.
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