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Every Dollar You Save Counts this Winter

When cold weather strikes, it usually means a spike in energy use. By making a few easy adjustments and changing some habits, you can keep costs down while keeping your home warm this season. The best part…our favorite tips don’t require spending any (or very much) money at all.

Small changes can add up to big savings with these easy tips.

Winner, winner oven dinner. 
If you’ve got an electric stove, cooking with your oven saves more energy than with your range. Get creative with your menus and look for delicious, oven-based recipes.

Sun’s out. Savings up.
Open all your window treatments during the day to take advantage of the sun’s natural warmth and light to help heat your home.

Let your dishwasher do the work. 
Washing dishes by hand actually uses more energy (and water...and time) than your dishwasher. Also, try the "energy saving" mode before running it.

Savings go up when the garage door goes down.
You might be surprised at how often someone at your house leaves the garage door open. Make sure you and your family keep it (and other external doors) closed to better seal your home this winter.

Close the lid on savings.
From soups to that tall pitcher of lemonade, remind your fam to cover all liquids before sticking them in the fridge. When moisture is drawn into the air, the appliance works harder and uses more energy.

Night lights are bright ideas.
Sometimes kiddos young (and old) need a little light at night. Using night lights saves more energy than overhead hall or room lights.

Set up your appliances for savings.
Your fridge and freezer might be working harder than they have to. The FDA recommends 37° to 40° on your fridge and 0° for your freezer as optimal settings. Those adjustments can help you save.

Before you bounce, turn it down.
Turn down for what? Savings. Before walking out your door, adjust your thermostat to 68 degrees or cooler. No need to heat an empty house while you’re gone.

Retire your old air filter.
Breathe better by routinely swapping out your HVAC air filters based on product recommendations and your unit’s requirements. Set your own calendar reminders for once a month, once every three months, etc.

Give your clothes the cold shoulder.
Wash your clothes with cold water. Many detergents are formulated to give your clothes the same clean with cold water as hot water.

Make space for portable heaters.
If you spend a lot of your day in a single room — like working from your home office — turn your house thermostat down and use a space heater to keep you cozy. Pro Tip: Models that are thermostat-controlled use less energy.

Less is more when using detergent.
Be sure you’re matching the amount of your detergent to your load size. (You’ll easily find this info on the package.) Using too much detergent causes build-up in the machine, which makes it run less efficiently.

Use Alabama Power’s Daily Energy Usage Tracker to discover the impact these tips can have on your electricity bill. Saving energy and money with small habits is always in season!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will using my fireplace lower my energy bill?

It may surprise you, but fireplaces are not very efficient in heating your home. They actually pull heated air from inside your home and out of the chimney. Consider installing glass doors to help limit the amount of air that gets drawn up and out. Be sure to also clean and maintain your chimneys regularly to prevent fire hazards. 

What is the ideal temperature to set my thermostat on during the colder months?

Every family differs in comfort levels, but overall most people are comfortable at a setting of 68-70 degrees. If you are away from home for more than four hours, consider setting it back more to save you money. To ensure you come home to a comfortable setting, consider purchasing a smart programmable thermostat that learns your habits and adjusts accordingly.

Will closing the heat registers in unused rooms save energy or money?

Closing off your heat registers could create pressure on your blower fan to work harder. This could cause harm to your equipment, which could outweigh any savings costs you may incur on your power bill. Not to mention, it can cause more distress on you if your unit goes out when it’s the coldest outside.

Why should I consider investing in a heat pump?

Advanced and efficient in design, a heat pump provides comfort in your home year-round. It provides high-efficiency cooling in the summer, and efficient heating in the winter – all in one unit. And because of how efficient it is, it can result in big savings on your monthly energy bills. Other benefits – it provides an important amplification of temperature that simple heat exchangers cannot do and offers more choices in where to locate your system as it doesn’t require flues.

How much insulation does my home need?

Areas of your home that are separated from unconditioned areas require insulation. A local contractor can help you determine the insulation levels for each area and if you’re meeting the recommended R-Values for ceilings, walls and floors. R-Value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-Value, the better the thermal performance of the insulation. Start at the top with your roof and attic before you move to your foundation then walls and floors. 


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