5 On Your Side

Save money, energy when temperatures plunge

Posted February 17, 2015
Updated February 18, 2015

— Possible record-low temperatures this week could mean an increase in utility bills as HVAC systems work overtime to keep you warm.

There are, however, some ways to help keep energy costs in check:

Lower the thermostat: Unless you have a heat pump, decreasing the temperature by as much as 10 degrees at night could save as much as 20 percent on heating costs. The recommended setting for winter is below 70 degrees.

Change filters:  A dirty one makes heating systems work harder, which uses more energy.
Take advantage of blinds and curtains: Open them – especially those on south-facing windows – during the day to let in the sun. Close them at night to help insulate.

Replace the bulbs: Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs or light-emitting diodes (LED) are more energy-efficient and provide the same amount of light.

Unused heating vents and rooms: Don't close them off. Doing so can use more energy.

Keep ceiling fans off: Don't bother turning them on to blow down warm air. Consumer Reports tests found the draft often gives people a chill, causing them to turn up the thermostat.

More tips and cost-saving resources are available on Duke Energy's website.

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  • Donald Holder Feb 17, 2015
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    It's true about the ceiling fans. When mine is on, I feel cooler. I think it's only good if you have very high ceilings.