SHREVEPORT, La. -- Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas may experience snow, sleet, ice, freezing rain and extremely cold temperatures during the coming months. Southwestern Electric Power Co. offers these winter energy-saving tips:
n Lower your thermostat setting -- For economy, start by setting the thermostat at 68 degrees. Adjust it lower at night or when you're not at home. Or consider lowering it a degree each week as you acclimate to colder weather. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a one-degree reduction maintained for eight hours can reduce a home's energy bill by one percent. Also, check into programmable thermostats, which allow you to adjust settings for when you're at home, away or sleeping.
n Keep filters clean -- Change your filters regularly. Dirty filters cause your heating equipment to work harder and use more electricity. Disposable filters should be checked each month and replaced when dirty (typically every one to three months). Permanent filters should be cleaned according to the manufacturer's directions.
n Close the gaps -- Weatherstrip or caulk around doors, windows and other parts of the house to prevent air leaks. From the interior, with the door closed, if you see light, you should repair or replace the weatherstripping. Keep doors and windows closed to prevent heat from escaping.
n Have your HVAC system inspected -- Ideally, the entire heating and cooling system should be inspected and serviced each year to operate at maximum efficiency.
n Inspect the attic -- Heat rising through the ceiling into the attic is another major source of heat loss. It's recommended that attic insulation be 10 to 12 inches deep. Check the insulation around ducts and make sure it is wrapped securely. Look for obvious air leaks around duct joints and seal as needed. Over time, ducts located in the attic that are not properly sealed can leak as much as 25 percent of heated air into the unconditioned space.
n Check the fireplace -- When the fireplace is not in use, be sure the damper is tightly closed. Glass fireplace doors are also good for additional savings.
n Reverse your fans -- Set your ceiling fans to the clockwise direction -- the opposite from summertime setting. This will help move warm air from near the ceiling into the rest of the room, without creating a wind-chill effect.
n Let the sunshine in -- Open curtains or blinds on the sunny side of the house and allow sunshine to help warm the room. On the shady side of the home, keeping shades closed will help keep the warmth inside.
For information on incentives for lighting, smart thermostats and other energy efficiency measures, visit SWEPCO.com/save.General News on 02/06/2019
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