TRI-CITIES, TN/VA (WJHL)- Winter months are known to be a time when energy bills go up, but some people say the colder months are more to their liking.
“I actually like the cold weather,” Lauri Zembower said. “I grew up in Colorado so, I miss it a little bit, but it’s been great having the opportunity to go out and hike and bike and do some things that we don’t normally get to do this time of year.”
2015 saw a very warm December, but, with the New Year, we’re finally moving toward colder temperatures and folks at home are turning up the thermostats.
Angela Shrewsbury is the manager of energy services and marketing for the Johnson City Power Board. She said that JCPB is a non-profit organization and that part of her job is to educate customers on how to be as energy efficient, as possible.
One way not to be very energy smart, Shrewsbury warns, is by adjusting the thermostat which will increase customers’ energy bills. Shrewsbury said, “Heating and cooling is 55% to 60% of customers’ energy bill.”
“When it’s colder outside customers are going to turn their thermostat up … that’s something that we don’t recommend that you do,” she said.
Zembower said she and her husband have had to turn their thermostat up a little bit more the last few weeks. She said, “I would expect that our bill is going to be a little bit higher this winter or this next month.”
Shrewsbury said that using more energy in the winter is inevitable. She said, “We want customers to use as much as they need, but no more than they have to.” Shrewsbury suggests that customers set their thermostats as low as they comfortably can.
“Another big tip that we want to remind customers is to set it and forget it,” she said. “During the winter months, if you frequently adjust your thermostat, you will increase your energy bill,” Shrewsbury added.
So, how often should you adjust your thermostat? Shrewsbury said, “I personally touch my thermostat twice a year … once in the fall and once in the spring when the seasons change.”
Shrewsbury said making your house more energy efficient can also save you some big bucks.
Zembower said, “Our house is pretty winter-proof, in general anyways. So, we just make sure that the filters are cleaned out on our heater and that kind of thing.”
Shrewsbury said there’s actually more than just keeping up your house that can help.
Shrewsbury said, “We do have an E-score program … that’s where we [JCPB] will come out to the customer’s home and we’ll provide energy recommendations to the customers on things that they can do, in their home, to save even more energy.”
Shrewsbury said that if homeowners choose to participate in the E-score program that they will actually be up for some additional cash back for making the needed updates, in addition to making their homes more energy efficient. The recommended changes will also help customers save on their energy bills each month.
To find out more info about the E-score program, visit: https://www.jcpb.com/ or call: (423) 952-5272.
These are some additional energy saving tips that the Johnson City Power Board recommends:
- If you have an electric heat pump, set it and forget it. Once you’ve set your thermostat, leave it alone and don’t readjust.
- Consider setting your thermostat as low as comfortably possible as each degree above 68-70° will increase your energy bill 3-5%.
- When the fireplace is not in use, keep the damper closed.
- Open the blinds on the sunny side of the house during the day and close them at night.
- Check your doors and windows for air leaks and seal anywhere that air is escaping.
- Make sure that your attic is properly insulated up to a R-38 value.
- Check to see if your energy/electric provider has a way that you see your energy usage. (Johnson City Power Board has SmartHub) This allows you to be aware when your energy consumption is increasing and to plan accordingly.
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