Customers can expect their electricity use to go up as winter approaches. Increased use means higher bills, but you can minimize this increase by taking the following steps.
â€˘ Add insulation. Most locations in IREAâ€™s service territory should have a minimum rating of R38 to R60 in the attic, which is about 13â€ť to 20â€ť of loose-fill, blown-in insulation. Consider fully insulating your garage, especially if there is a living space above it. Also insulate the walls of any crawl spaces.
â€˘ Reevaluate your homeâ€™s temperature. Lowering your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees while youâ€™re out of the house can save you up to 10% each year.
â€˘ Seal air leaks throughout your home. They are often found around pipes and outlets, as well as dryer vents and unfinished spaces. Add caulk or weather-stripping to seal the leaks. Window drafts can be reduced by clear plastic film affixed with double-sided sticky tape. Seal the plastic tightly by shrinking it with a hair dryer. Insulating drapes and cellular shades can also reduce cold air infiltration.
â€˘ Have your heating system serviced to keep it operating efficiently. Change the furnace filter as recommended.
â€˘ Use holiday lights that are LED. If you already put up non-LED lights, bring them to us instead of throwing them out and we will recycle them. Make sure any new lights you buy are LED, which are up to 90% more efficient.
â€˘ Reduce through your fireplace. Keep the damper closed when you donâ€™t have a fire going. A heat-air exchange system and tempered glass doors can more effectively heat the room. Plug and seal the chimney flue if you donâ€™t use your fireplace.
â€˘ Take advantage of sunny days by opening the curtains and blinds on south-facing windows. They will naturally heat your home. Close them at night to keep the outside cold from infiltrating.
â€˘ Consider purchasing a smart or programmable thermostat. The most popular models cost around $200, but reduce heating and cooling use by an estimated 10% to 15% and pay for themselves within two years.