Fall/Winter Season Energy Tips
At NIPSCO, we want you to have a warm winter, but we also want to help you reduce your energy use and your monthly bill. Here are a few simple tips that can result in big savings.
- Have Your Furnace Inspected. Have your heating equipment inspected once a year by a qualified heating contractor.
- Check Your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors. Be sure to test alarms regularly and replace batteries often.
- Adjust Your Thermostat. Set your thermostat two degrees below what you’re used to and wear heavier clothing and use more blankets to make up for the temperature difference. And remember, when the heat is on, be sure to close all windows.
- Install a Programmable Thermostat to lower the temperature while you're away.
- Use Your Storm Windows as an extra layer of protection from the cold. You can also use sheets of clear plastic to prevent heat loss.
- Change Your Air Filters often throughout the season as dirty filters block air, forcing your furnace to work harder.
- Shorten Your Showers. Simply reducing shower time by a few minutes can save hundreds of gallons of hot water per month and greatly reduce water-heating costs. Try showering with a timer set for five minutes to get yourself adjusted.
- Let the Sun in. Utilize the sun’s energy simply by opening your drapes and letting the sun heat your home. But when the sun goes down, be sure to close your drapes so they can do the job of insulating.
- Rearrange Your Rooms. Exterior walls and older windows are more likely to be drafty. To stay away from the draft, move your furniture around so you are sitting near interior walls.
- Seal Up Leaks. Caulk leaks around windows and doors. Look for places where you have pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. If you find a small gap, seal it up.
- Close the Door. If you have rooms in your home that you’re not using, close off the heat registers and radiator valves, as well as doors leading to those areas. And if you have an attached garage, make sure to keep the door closed.
- Redirect Your Registers. If your registers are adjustable, direct the warm airflow across the floor. The warm air will rise throughout the room and make for a more comfortable living space. If you don’t have adjustable registers, you can always use air deflectors.
- Use Fireplaces Sparingly. Traditional fireplaces are energy losers – it’s best not to use them because they pull heated air up the chimney and out of the house. When not in use, make absolutely sure the damper is closed. But before closing the damper, make sure that you don’t have any smoldering embers. If you decide not to use a fireplace, block off the chimney with a piece of rigid insulation from the hardware store.
- Don't Ventilate Good Heat. Turn off kitchen and bath ventilation fans after they’ve done their job. Leaving them on inadvertently can quickly blow out a house full of heated air.
- Use Appliances Efficiently. Do only full loads when using your dishwasher and clothes washer. Use the cold water setting on your clothes washer when you can, as it reduces your washer’s energy use by up to 75 percent. Avoid overdrying and be sure to empty the lint trap after each use.
- Adjust Your Ceiling Fan. In rooms with a ceiling fan, flip the switch on the fan to reverse the motor (clockwise rotation for most fans), thus creating an updraft. Operate the fan at a low speed and this will force the warm air near the ceiling down into the living space.