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“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…” While this holiday song makes the cold weather sound, well, quite delightful, we all know better. Due to this winter’s extreme weather conditions, the northeast has been experiencing frightfully low temperatures and unexpected increases in their electricity rates.
Weather is a major contributor to energy costs because electric heating and cooling are top drivers of electricity consumption. As consumers use more heat and electricity to warm their homes and businesses, the demand on the power generators producing this power increases and, in turn, energy prices increase.
With energy prices at record highs, it is critical now more than ever that you take steps to manage your energy consumption! Here are a few winter energy saving tips to try in your home or office:
- Energy costs are at their highest during peak energy hours (typically 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. on weekdays). Get into the habit of waiting until off-peak hours to run appliances such as your dishwasher, washer and dryer, and heavy machinery. Energy rates can be significantly lower during these periods.
- Set thermostats to no higher than 68 degrees. Lower the temperature when you go to bed or leave the house/office to ensure optimal heating and energy savings. Take steps to minimize the heating or lighting of areas in your home or office while not in use.
- Ensure that radiators and/or heating vents are not blocked by furniture or draperies. Keep your radiators, registers and baseboard heaters dirt and dust free. Close vents and doors in unused rooms.
- Take advantage of non-electric heating methods to the extent possible. Gas furnaces or glass door fireplaces are ideal. Remember that traditional fireplaces may actually make your home colder by pulling heated air out of your home and exhausting it through your chimney.
- Close energy-stealing openings such as fireplace dampers or window air conditioning units to prevent cold air from entering through vents
- Ensure that your house/office is properly insulated. If rooms are too cold consider taking action to seal air leaks using caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping.
- Open the window coverings on the south-facing windows in your home or office to allow in sunlight. Close these window coverings at night to keep the heat in.
- Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Install a water heater blanket if your water heater is more than five years old.