During the winter, the drop in temperature can cause a household’s electricity use to increase as heating systems work harder to keep homes warm. And with many people spending more time at home during the pandemic, energy use may increase more sharply in comparison to previous years.
Helping its members save energy and money is always a priority for Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative, but when it’s cold outside, energy awareness and efficiency become especially important.
Some quick and easy things co-op members can do to help reduce their energy use this season include:
Embracing natural sunlight. On bright, sunny days, open your blinds and allow the natural heat from the sun’s rays to warm up your home. Be sure to close them at night and keep your windows sealed to lock cold air away.
Lowering your thermostat. Instead of maintaining higher temperatures indoors, opt for a consistent temperature – no higher than 68 degrees to avoid overworking your heater. Extreme weather conditions cause HVAC systems to work harder, which leads to higher energy consumption and costs, so it’s more cost effective to bundle up instead of turning the thermostat up.
Join our Connect to Save program and get a deeply discounted smart thermostat, with free installation. If you sign up for the smart thermostat program, you can add a water heater controller as well. By programming your thermostat to lower the temperature setting when you are away from home or asleep, you can save significantly on your heating bill.
Saving hot water. If you’ve never adjusted your water heater, it is likely set to 140 degrees. By lowering it to 120 degrees, you can benefit from reduced energy use and cost savings. Other quick changes that make a big difference are investing in a low-flow shower head to cut back on hot water use, washing clothes in cold water, and running dishwashers and laundry machines with full loads, avoiding peak times from 7 to 10 a.m. from Oct. 16 through April 15 and from 3 to 7 p.m. April 16 through Oct. 15.
Turning off lights and devices when not in use. Make sure to turn off lights, space heaters and other appliances when you are not using them. Consider installing a power strip that allows you to easily unplug devices that constantly use energy even when turned off, such as TVs and game systems.
Making simple switches. Replace traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs, and switch ceiling fans to run in a clockwise direction to help push warmer air down. Staying on top of maintenance. Have your heating system serviced regularly to ensure optimal performance, and change air filters at least monthly to make sure your system is operating as efficiently as possible.