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PAGE 6 | NOVEMBER 2013


Take the chill out of winter bills BY AMBER BENTLEY, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association


the winter. Read on for ways to save energy when the temperature drops.


B


Thermostat Setting Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees (or lower). If you decrease the temperature by just one degree, you can save up to 5 percent on heating costs. Consider a programmable thermostat that you can set to lower the temperature when away from home and increase before you come back.


Adjust Blinds and Curtains Keep them open to let in sunlight during the day, and close at night to keep heat inside and protect from drafts.


Hot Water Temperature Reduce hot water temperatures: Heating water accounts for 12 percent of the average home’s energy use. Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees or lower—that’s usually sufficient for a household’s hot-water needs. Also, if you’ve had your water heater for more than 12 years, you might want to consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient model.


Seal and Insulate This is the best way to keep heat in and air out. Areas that may need sealing include corners, cracks, door frames, and windows.


Replace old appliances Consider replacing old appliances, doors, and windows with ENERGY STAR- rated models. You can save about 15 percent of your normal energy use with


etween holiday houseguests and shorter, colder days, electric bills tend to climb in


SEALING CRACKS AND GAPS AROUND DOORS AND WINDOWS IS A GREAT WAY TO KEEP WINTER DRAFTS AT BAY. SOURCE: TOUCHSTONE ENERGY®


COOPERATIVES


these appliances and get better insulation on doors and windows for the price you pay. ENERGY STAR-rated items meet special efficiency standards set by the federal government.


Free Your Vents HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems will have to work twice as hard if vents are blocked by rugs, furniture, or doors. Keep vents clear for proper air flow.


Keep Food Cool Don’t make your fridge work too hard. A temperature set between 34 and 37 degrees Fahrenheit is usually sufficient.


Use LED lights A special holiday tip: Use LED lights to decorate. They’re up to 75 percent more energy efficient than traditional incandescent lights and last much


longer—but check for an ENERGY- STAR rating before you buy. Cheaper LEDs tend not to last as long or be as durable.


Visit www.tcec.coop for more ways to save.


Sources:


http://blog.togetherwesave.com/ “Five Action Steps to Winter Energy Usage”


http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/top- 10-tips-save-energy-and-money-winter


http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/tips- save-energy-during-holidays


Amber Bentley writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer- owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. n


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