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Winter Energy Conservation Tips That Could Save You Money

January 13, 2016   By Guest Contributor in Reduce The Use

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The following was written by guest contributor Kate McCabe. McCabe is an engineer in Santee Cooper's Career Foundation program. She graduated from the University of South Carolina in May 2015 with a degree in electrical engineering.

As the ball dropped to ring in the New Year, unfortunately, so did the temperatures. With cold weather creeping in, you may be feeling the impact on more than just your clothing choices. Cold weather can also drive up your power bill if you're not paying attention. Here are some tips to help both you and your wallet stay bundled up this winter.

Let the Sun Shine!

Open the blinds over your south-facing windows during the day and allow the natural sunlight to flood the room! Mother Nature can help heat your home for free! At night, be sure to close the blinds to help block out the cold.

Speaking of windows, check them for drafts. Inspect your doors, too. There are many products on the market that can help seal up areas that are letting in cold air such as plastic films, insulated window treatments, caulking, and weather strips. If you want to go big, upgrade to energy efficient windows throughout your home.

Go with the Flow

Use your fans to your advantage. Switching the fan's direction to clockwise will help circulate the warm air collecting near the ceiling back down to you. Be sure to turn the fan off when you leave the room!

Make sure your air filter isn't messing with your flow. A dirty filter causes the heating system to use more energy because it has to work harder than usual. Filters should be checked monthly and replaced accordingly. You should also have regular maintenance performed on your HVAC system.

Be sure to set your thermostat to the appropriate temperature. When you're around, have it set to the coldest comfortable temperature. Santee Cooper recommends setting temperature to 68 degrees or cooler during the winter.

If you have a fireplace, be aware of your flue damper. When you aren't burning a fire, make sure it's closed and the seal is tight to avoid allowing cool air in. Products such as glass doors, heat-air exchange systems, and insulation materials can all help to make your fireplace heat source more efficient.

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

Don't forget! You can improve your energy efficiency through your water too! On average, water heating makes up about 18 percent of a home's energy consumption. Setting water heaters to 120 degrees will save energy.

Also, try washing clothes in cold water. And did you know that 80 percent of the energy your dishwasher uses goes to heating water? To save money, try rinsing all your dishes in cool water before loading them in the dishwasher. Then, turn off the pre-rinse option on your dishwasher to avoid using all that extra hot water!

There are many more no-cost and low-cost ways to save energy and money this winter. Visit our website for more ways to keep your home and wallet bundled up without wasting energy.