Preparing for high heating costs
The National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) released its projections of home heating costs for the upcoming winter. NEADA predicts the average family will pay 17% more than last year to heat their home due to surging natural gas prices and continued supply chain problems.
According to EnergySavers.gov, heating and cooling account for about 56% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most families.
There are some simple steps, such as lowering your thermostat, which can help you save on your energy use and energy bills. Here are some other tips from Safe Electricity, a nonprofit public awareness program of the Energy Education Council, to consider as we make the switch to a new season:
- Use caulk to seal gaps in the walls of your home or apartment. Wherever different building materials meet, or wiring comes out of a wall, there are gaps that may contribute to the loss of heat.
- Weather stripping is relatively easy and available at your local home improvement store. Stop drafts from coming in and heat from leaking out of your home through drafty doors and windows.
- If you have older or leaky windows, consider temporary fixes, such as plastic film kits that create the effect of an interior storm window.
- Open curtains to the sun to help warm a room with radiant energy. Close them at night and on gloomy days to keep heat in.
- Lower the temperature setting when you leave the home and at night when you go to sleep. A programmable thermostat can automatically make these adjustments for you.
- Replace your furnace filter monthly to save energy and improve heat circulation.
- Set the water heater thermostat to 120 degrees and if it is an older unit, install an inexpensive insulating blanket to prevent heat loss.
- If you have a fireplace, be sure to close the damper when it is not in use to prevent heat from escaping and cold from entering through your chimney.
- Doors and vents of unused rooms can also be closed if there is a cold air return in the room; otherwise, closing them off will put inefficient stress on your air handling system.
As always, your local electric cooperative is your trusted energy advisor. I encourage you to reach out to your co-op in advance of the upcoming winter season — they are ready to partner with you to keep your power flowing safely and comfortably.
By Chris Meyers
General Manager | Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives