As a new year starts, there are new opportunities to save energy and money. January is usually the coldest month we experience here in the Florida Panhandle and these frigid temperatures can cause heating systems to work harder than usual. And, since heating and cooling costs make up nearly half of the average co-op member’s electric usage, increases on winter billing statements may be noticed.
When our temperatures fall and you hear the weatherman talking about bringing in those pets and plants, remember implementing some small changes into your routine can help manage energy use. We’re here to help you stretch your energy budget. An energy-efficient home will keep you comfortable while saving you money. Whether you take simple steps or make larger investments to make your home more efficient, you’ll see lower energy bills. Over time, those savings will typically pay for the cost of improvements.
Connecting you to savings
• Beat the Peak
Energy “peaks” occur when everyone uses electricity at the same time, like on cold winter mornings – usually from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. During those times, limit your energy use to help keep rates low. Adjust your thermostat, avoid washing or drying clothes, delay baths to conserve hot water and run the dishwasher later.
• Home Insulation
Consider putting in more insulation. It’s a no-brainer. Adding spray-in foam and cellulose or fiberglass insulation helps keep heated or cooled air inside your home and the elements outside.
• Water Heating
The average household uses around 45-60 gallons of hot water per day. To reduce energy usage and protect against scalding, set your water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Seal Air Leaks
Caulk around the fireplace hearth and caulk or weatherstrip around doors and windows and pipes.
• Protect Pipes
Wrap exposed pipes and water heaters that are in unconditioned spaces.
• HVAC Tips
Check your air filter to see if it needs to be changed. And, remember that for every one degree you adjust your thermostat you could increase or decrease your heating costs by up to five percent.
Even the most efficient HVAC systems will see more use in extreme weather. When extreme cold temperatures hit, our heaters work overtime. For example, even if you set your thermostat to our recommended 68 degrees in the winter, when it is 29 degrees outside, your system has to work hard to make up that 39-degree difference. Your heater comes on more often and stays on longer, making your use much higher. That means your statement will be higher as well. Remember, there is value in comfort. For us to be comfortable in our homes, our heaters are going to work harder, but it may be worth the additional cost to you.
• Inside Your Home
Keep drapes closed at night and keep those that don’t get direct sunlight closed during the day. Open drapes and blinds during daylight areas to let sunlight heat your home. Dress for the weather – even if you are inside. Wearing proper clothing like long sleeves and pants or wrapping up in a cozy blanket will help combat the temptation of bumping up the thermostat.
For members living in manufactured homes, a new heat pump may be a good option to help alleviate some of those extra winter costs. Did you know WFEC offers rebates on high-efficiency air-to-air heat pumps and mini-split systems for manufactured homes? Enjoy a more efficient heating and cooling system that will save you an average of $550 per year in heating costs. For additional information about manufactured home heat pump rebates, call 800-342-7400 to speak to our energy efficiency experts. They can also help you understand how weather and your use patterns may affect your bill.
"An average household uses around 45-60 gallons of hot water per day. To reduce energy usage and protect against scalding, set your water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit."