With many in our community working and caring for their children at home, households may see an increase in energy and water use. We are committed to helping you stay safe and reduce costs during this pandemic.
Heating water is the second-largest use of energy in the average home. As a result, water heating may represent a large portion of your utility bill. Here are some smart ways to lower your utility bill by using water wisely.
At the water heater
In the kitchen, bathroom and laundry
Throughout the house
Keep your thermostat at or below 68 degrees. Regulating the temperature in your home is important and can save you money. Each degree that you lower the thermostat can reduce your heating costs by as much as three percent.
Find and seal leaks and drafts. Air leakage occurs because of cracks or gaps in in windows, doors and walls and can lead to higher monthly energy rates because it lets heat escape and cold air enter. Before it gets too cold, it's important to check all your doors and windows for air leakage that could keep your heater running overtime. If your front or back door has space between it and the floor, add weather stripping to the bottom or use caulk to seal the gap. This will prevent excess heat from escaping and could keep your heater from running up your energy bill. Also, be sure to check out the exterior or your home - it's common to find gaps or cracks around windows and doors or where different building materials meet.
Make sure heat isn't escaping from your fireplace. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney. Install a chimney pillow in the flue of unused or seldom used fireplaces. These plastic pillows are inflated to fill the chimney and block warm inside air from leaving. Remember to remove the pillow before starting a fire. You can buy chimney pillows from fireplace dealers and online.
Use shades and blinds to help heat and cool the house. On warm, sunny days, open the blinds or curtains of south-facing windows, allowing the sun to warm the room. In areas where your home doesn't get much sun, keep your curtains and blinds closed to trap in the heat.
Reverse the spin of ceiling fans. When spinning clockwise, ceiling fans will push warm air down. It will also redistribute the warm air from your heating system, making sure pockets of cold air don't settle in the corners of each room.
Maintain your HVAC filter. Air filters, although small, do a big job-they maintain the air quality in your home and help your heater run efficiently. If you don't replace your air filter, it clogs up from excess dust. This reduces airflow, or increases resistance, which puts strain on your heating and cooling system. Clean or replace furnace filters in the fall and then regularly during the heating season, following manufacturers' recommendations.
A key element to managing your electricity usage is to be able to track it over time. By reviewing your billing statement, you see whether you are using more or less energy compared to the year before. Your bill also shows the amount due and any past due balance. Even if you are enrolled in Budget Billing, it's crucial to review your bill to avoid surprise balances during the annual "true-up."
We offer rebates, loans and tips to help you reduce your energy and water use in and around your home.
Managing peak electricity demand is a critical component of achieving climate recovery goals and keeping energy affordable for all customers.