Reduce energy use during frigid temperatures

Feb. 19, 2015

REC has taken the necessary steps to be prepared for record cold temperatures and encourages its members to do the same.

Paul Gillespie, REC’s energy advisor, says, "The colder the temperature, the more electricity you use. On a very cold winter day, a home heating system runs longer to circulate warm air through the home. More people also stay inside on cold days using more electricity than they would if they weren’t home.”

Members are encouraged to use these energy efficiency tips to help reduce energy use during these frigid days.

Lower the Thermostat: Set your thermostat as low, and as comfortable, as possible. You can reduce heating costs by two percent for every degree you lower the thermostat. Use a programmable thermostat to lower the temperature when you are sleeping or away from home and to gradually raise the temperature prior to the time you awake or arrive home. Wear layers to help you stay warm.

Replace or Clean Filters: Dirty filters make your heating system work harder. For maximum efficiency, clean or replace your air filters every month. Avoid filters that will allow you to see your hand on the other side and electrostatic filters.

Unblock Vents: Maximize heat efficiency by unblocking vents and vacuuming out dust from cold air returns. While space heaters can be a quick heating solution, keep in mind that they use a large amount of energy that can lead to a higher electric bill.

Reverse Fan: Reverse your ceiling fan in the winter to push warm air down into the room. Remember to run it on slow to prevent cold drafts. When not in the room always turn the ceiling fan off.

Open Drapes: On sunny winter days, open draperies or blinds to let the sun’s warmth in. Close them at night to keep the cold air outside.

Use towels or blankets to seal areas at the base of exterior doors or windows where heat often escapes.

REC members can monitor their electricity use by registering for a MyUsage.com account. A MyUsage.com account allows you to monitor your daily energy use. Gillespie adds, “The awareness of your daily energy use provided by MyUsage.com helps take the surprise out of a higher than normal electric bill as a result of extreme cold temperatures and higher energy use.”

REC provides electric service to nearly 160,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties. With its general office in Fredericksburg, Va., the Cooperative operates and maintains more than 16,000 miles of power lines through its service area, which ranges from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Follow REC on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.