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Monday, November 29, 2010

No-Cost and Low-Cost Ways to Lower Your Power Bill

By: James Stevenson, Extension Urban Sustainability Specialist

With Old Man Winter poised to rap his icy (OK, chilly) knuckles upon our door, it is time to begin to plan on energy savings throughout the cool season.

Believe it or not, there are ways to improve a home’s energy efficiency that cost nothing or nearly nothing. Let’s start with the number one consumer of electricity in the house (no, not teenagers); the HVAC or Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning System. Perhaps yours has had a break during October and November, but soon we will be conditioning our indoor space for comfort in cooler weather.

The University recommends setting the thermostat at 68°F in winter. Drafty windows and doors can make 68 degrees seem much cooler, so check for leaks. Caulk and weather stripping are inexpensive fixes to keep heated air INDOORS.

Of course, change your system’s filter now if you have not done so already. This keeps the system running smoothly. Make sure the outdoor unit of your heat pump is free of debris. Keep foliage at least 2 feet away from the unit so it can do its job efficiently.

If you have a ceiling fan, set it to turn clock-wise for winter. It can help bring warm air down from the ceiling. Make sure it is on a low setting; otherwise it will feel like a cool breeze on your skin!

There are many more tips and hints to ensure an affordable, yet comfortable winter. Join us for a free webinar as we explore the latest from the University of Florida. Sign-up for Solutions in 30, on December 8th and we will talk you through easy and cheap ways to lower your energy bills year-round!


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