Low temps, high energy: Cost-cutting tips
The Jackson Sun, January 2, 2018
A tight power supply situation on the TVA system eased Tuesday morning, following an appeal by the Tennessee Valley Authority for customers to reduce their energy use amid extreme cold temperatures.
In a press release, the TVA announced cooperation by more the 8.5 million electric consumers in the TVA service area in reducing their use of electricity during the power shortage helped prevent the situation from becoming more critical.
Customers were asked to reduce electric power use because of abnormally cold temperatures. The appeal came after the TVA and local power companies initiated power reductions in their facilities by adjusting thermostats, reducing lighting and taking other measures to reduce electricity consumption, according to the press release.
As temperatures are expected to remain below freezing in the days to come, here are some tips from TVA’s website to help consumers combat high energy costs while staying warm this winter:
Tips for winter
- Set your thermostat to 68°F. Turn it down even more when no one will be home for several days.
- During the day, keep curtains open on the south side of the house and closed on the north side to trap the warming sunlight.
- Make sure the fireplace damper is closed when not in use. Don’t send warm air up the chimney.
- Use area rugs if you have hardwood or tile floors to keep your feet warm.
No-cost tips, daily activities
- Turn off lights, electronics and appliances when they’re not in use. Use sleep mode for computers.
- Take shorter, cooler showers to reduce hot water use.
- Use cold water for laundry whenever possible and wash only full loads.
In the kitchen
- Match the size of pots and pans to the size of the burner. Cover with lids whenever possible.
- Run the dishwasher only when full.
- Air-dry dishes instead of using the dishwasher’s heated drying option.
- Set the refrigerator temperature between 35°-39°F and the freezer between 0°-5°F.
- Clean refrigerator coils so they cool more efficiently.
- Unplug or recycle your second refrigerator.
- Set your hot water heater to 120°F.
- Drain a gallon of water from your water heater once a year to remove sediment and improve performance.
Low-cost tips, lighting
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs or light-emitting diodes (LED), which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer.
Heating and cooling
- Change air filters monthly. Dirty filters force your heating and cooling systems to work harder.
- Insulate heating and cooling ducts and repair any air leaks.
- Install an ENERGY STAR certified programmable thermostat.
Insulation and sealing
- Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors to stop air leaks.
- Seal gaps where pipes or electrical wires come though walls or floors.
- Add insulation to your attic, crawlspaces and any accessible exterior walls.
- Seal exterior light switches and electrical outlets.
Appliances and electronics
- Use power strips for electronics and small appliances, turning them off when not in use. Many electronics and appliances still use electricity even when the power is off.
- Look for the ENERGY STAR label when replacing appliances, whether small or large.
- Replace worn-out seals on your refrigerator and freezer.
- Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
- Repair leaky faucets. One drop per second can add up to 165 gallons a month.
- Insulate the first 5 feet of pipe coming from your water heater.
- Wrap your water heater with insulation or an insulating blanket.
Find more about TVA, including energy tips, online at: www.tva.gov