Stay warm, not stressed, with tips to manage energy use this winter from Alabama Power

Stay warm, not stressed, with tips to manage energy use this winter from Alabama Power
Covering cracks and gaps with weather-stripping helps make your home energy efficient year-round. (Getty Images)

With the sudden downturn in temperatures, staying comfortable and cozy indoors takes precedence – and that could lead to a spike in your energy use.

Alabama Power has some tips and tools that can help customers manage how they use energy this winter while staying warm and worry-free.

My Power Usage lets you view and manage daily energy usage, view projected bills and set alerts when dollar amounts are reached. You can enroll for free by signing into your account at AlabamaPower.com.

Budget Billing is a free service that lets customers pay an averaged bill each month, based on annual use. Budget Billing can help smooth out seasonal variations in energy bills. Eligibility requirements apply.

Here are some simple ways to stay in control of your energy use and save this winter:

  • Set your thermostat to 68 degrees while you are away from home. Smart thermostats can be put on a daily or weekly schedule.
  • Don’t invite cold air into your home. Keep your attached garage door shut to help keep warm air in.
  • Open your blinds on your home’s sunny side during the day. Let that warm sunshine be your ally in heating your home. Keep drapes closed on the north or cold side.
  • (Getty Images)

    Close vents in the attic or in foundation walls during the winter.

  • Check your electric water heater. If it is warm to the touch, it may need a blanket. Check with the manufacturer to see if the water heater has an R value of at least 24. If not, try adding an insulating wrap, which can reduce heat loss by 25%-45%. They are easy to install and available at most home improvement or building supply stores.
  • Rethink your fireplace. Although a crackling fire can make a room appear warm and cozy, many fireplaces are a deterrent to energy efficiency because heated air escapes up the chimney. Some fireplaces are designed for providing heat by supplying the fire with outside air. If yours doesn’t, you may want to forgo using it on very cold days. And don’t forget to close the damper when it is not in use.
  • Use portable electric space heaters sparingly and only in the room or area you are in. Buy models that are thermostatically controlled. Be sure to turn off the space heater when you leave the room, for safety.
  • Use an electric blanket at night. An electric blanket is more economical than heating the entire house all night long. Another option is to swap out bedding to flannel sheets or heavier blankets.
  • Cover up your cold feet. Research shows we are more sensitive to feeling cold when our toes are exposed, and women are more likely than men to have cold feet. Comfy socks can help you feel warm all over.
  • Set ceiling fans to the clockwise direction to help pull and recirculate heated air that’s trapped up top.

Looking ahead to next winter, and the high heat of this coming summer, here are some other ideas to help make your home more energy-efficient for all seasons:

  • Make sure attic insulation is 10-12 inches deep.
  • Repair or replace old windows. Fill cracks and gaps with caulk or weather-stripping.
  • Upgrade your heating and cooling system to an energy-efficient heat pump.

For more tips and suggestions for making your home more energy-efficient this winter, visit alabamapower.com/winterize.

 

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