Fall and Winter Energy Saving Tips
by Keith Buchhalter, Public Affairs Specialist at Overton Power District No. 5
Goodbye triple-digit temperatures. Yes, we survived another HOT summer. It’s finally that time of year to once again open our windows, let some fresh air into our homes, and prepare for the winter months. This is my favorite time of year; I always look forward to seeing my kids go Trick-or-Treating, celebrating Veteran’s Day, gathering the family to say thanks on Thanksgiving day for all the blessings received through the year, and catching the holiday spirit while admiring the beautiful home light displays some of you work so hard on to celebrate the holiday season. We want you to make the most of this great time of year, and that’s why we want to share our favorite Energy Saving Tips for the 2017 fall and winter months.
Bake several dishes at a time. We all love to bake at this time of the year, but did you know that it takes the same amount of energy to bake in a full oven as it does a nearly-empty one? Make the most of your oven and bake several dishes at the same time.
Turn the thermostat down when you have guests. Friend and family gatherings are quite common this time of year, and those extra bodies in the house means extra warmth at no extra cost to you.
After a great meal it is time to clean. Now it is time to wash the dishes! You can do this by scraping off food, emptying liquids, and giving them a manual pre-rinse in the sink with cold water. Only run your dishwasher when it is completely full. Try using the light or short cycle. If you’ve made sure your dishes are easier to clean, the dishwasher doesn’t need to run at maximum power to finish the job. When your dishwasher is about to click to the dry cycle, turn it off and open the door to let the dishes air dry. If you do this instead of using the heat-dry option, you could save 15 to 50 percent of your dishwasher’s energy consumption.
Stop throwing money out the window — plug leaks and drafts. Your home loses most of its heat to drafts and air leaks, inside and out. Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around recessed lighting, and sliding draft guards under your doors and you can save up to 20 percent on heating costs.
Invite the sun in. Yes, it feels like the sun has abandoned us during the winter, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it during these shorter days. Open curtains and other window treatments on your west- and south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home and save anywhere from 2 to 12 percent.
Maintain your HVAC system. Make sure to clean or change your furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down airflow, making the system work harder to keep you warm and costing you more money. Also, consider getting a winter tune-up. A semi-annual or yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency, saving you money and making your home more comfortable.
Deck the halls with LEDs. The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without lighting up our homes with the brightest and most colorful displays possible. Consider LED and fiber optic lights this year instead of traditional incandescent light strands. LED holiday lights use up to 90 percent less energy and last longer because they are sturdier and more resistant to breakage. Also, put them on a timer. There’s no need to have them on while everyone is sleeping.
Last but not least. If you plan to travel, leaving your home for more than two or three days, turn your thermostat down and turn your water heater off. Just don’t forget to turn it back on immediately upon arrival.
For more energy saving tips, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. From all of us at Overton Power District No. 5, we wish you and your family a safe 2017 Holiday Season!