With fall in full swing and winter on the horizon, the cooling seasonal temperatures are sure to make Georgians’ heating bills go up. Now is the time to make sure your home is well prepared to keep you and your family warm without undue use of your heater.
“While customers are seeing some relief on their natural gas bills because of low energy prices, the best defense is still a good offense,” said Dan Hart, President and CEO of Coweta-Fayette EMC Natural Gas. “Now is the ideal time to make sure you and your family are prepared to take the coming winter months in stride.”
Eliminate drafts: Check the seams around doors and windows. If you can see light or feel a cool breeze, apply caulk or weatherstripping to seal the area. A thermal leak detector is a handheld device that also can help identify leaks as well as areas where insulation can be improved.
Check attic insulation: Help prevent heat from escaping through your ceilings by having a proper amount of insulation in your attic. Access doors to attics and crawl spaces often have gaps between their frames and their openings. Adding weatherstripping and insulation to these areas will produce a tighter and more energy-efficient living area.
Maintain your heating and cooling system: Keep your home’s HVAC filter clean and change it at least every other month. Trim brush and clean leaves from around the outdoor unit, and move furniture and rugs off of floor vents.
This is good time to have a licensed contractor give your HVAC system an inspection and tune-up. Leaky ducts can waste up to one-third or more of the hot or cool air your system produces. If your system is old, consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient unit.
Get a programmable thermostat: Programmable thermostats are another easy way to conserve energy without sacrificing comfort. Pre-programmable settings allow you to set room temperatures that minimize HVAC use when you are away from the house while maintaining comfortable room temperatures when you are at home.
Use your ceiling fan year round: Most ceiling fans have a switch that reverses the direction of the fan blades so that in the cool winter months, a gentle updraft can force the warm air near the ceiling down to the occupied parts of the room.
Smart cooking and cleaning: Use the lid to cover pots and pans when you are cooking. This reduces the amount of time it takes to bring pots to temperature and the amount of heat necessary to keep dishes at the desired temperature while cooking.
A dishwasher can use half of the energy and one-sixth of the water as hand washing. Remember to only run your dishwasher when it’s fully loaded and then let your dishes air dry.
Landscape your yard: In addition to looking great, landscaping can have a profound impact on your summer and winter heating bills. Plant trees that shade your home from summer heat then lose their leaves in the fall so the winter sun warms your home during the day. If your home receives direct wind, consider installing thick trees or shrubs like evergreens as a wind break.
Implementing these simply, energy conservation techniques will help you save money while providing your family with a warm, comfortable home throughout the cold winter months.
Coweta-Fayette EMC Natural Gas (www.cfemcnaturalgas.com) is a natural gas marketer registered with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) that offers customers easy to understand bills, simple pricing structures, and local customer service. Coweta-Fayette EMC Natural Gas customers can choose monthly variable-rate pricing without a contract or fixed pricing that allows them to lock in their natural gas price for the winter heating season.