Minimize the winter energy blues

A strong cold front has made its way to San Antonio today, bringing a blast of colder air and gusty winds. As the winter weather sets in, it can be difficult to think of ways to reduce your electricity usage but there are many ways to keep it down despite the chilly temperatures.

Your heating system can use more than half of the energy in your home. Setting the thermostat between 68 to 70 degrees, when you’re at home and bumping the temperature setting down a few degrees when you are away can help save you money. And with the convenience of a programmable thermostat, managing the temperature while you’re away is a breeze. Consider one of our energy-saving thermostats and save $85 when you enroll a qualified WiFi thermostat in your business or home in our WiFi Thermostat Rewards program.

And while it’s important to manage the temperature in your home, it is also recommended to schedule a system checkup with a licensed and bonded professional if you haven’t already done so. A professional should inspect your HVAC system at least twice a year to ensure its running efficiently and detect any potential problems.

Checking air filters every month and replacing them when dirty is a good energy savings habit to implement. Dirty air filters restrict airflow and reduce the efficiency of your system.

You can also reduce air leaks and prevent unnecessary air infiltration around your house by adding caulk around window frames and weather-stripping around door frames. Sealing leaks around doors and windows will make your home more energy-efficient.

While cooler temperatures can cause havoc on our energy bills there are simple things you can do to stay warm, save energy and minimize the impact of winter.

  • Bundle up. Throw on a heavy sweater, warm socks and cozy up under a warm blanket.
  • Keep all doors and windows closed when the heat is on.
  • Do not block heat registers or air returns with curtains or furniture.
  • Close the damper on fireplaces when not in use.
  • Open drapes to let warm sunlight in during the day. Close them at night to reduce heat loss.
  • Conserve hot water. Take short showers or shallow baths.
  • Make sure ceiling fans are running in a counter clockwise direction during the winter.  Don’t forget to turn off fans when you leave the room!

Inexpensive tips to make your home more energy efficient:

  • Install inexpensive foam gaskets behind the face plates of all electric sockets and light switches.
  • Install a low-flow shower head or faucet aerator to save water and reduce water heating costs.
  • Wrap your electric water heater with a water heater blanket and set the thermostat to 120 degrees or medium. Insulating the water pipes also can help.

Of course, if you do all of these, you won’t be able to reduce your heating bill to nothing, but it will lessen the impact to your energy bill that comes with the winter season.

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