PENSACOLA, Florida – Now that the hot summer months are almost behind us, it’s time to think about fall and the cooler, and sometimes colder weather that’s right around the corner. With national meteorologists predicting a cooler and wetter winter than normal for the Southeast, October is the perfect month to start thinking about energy conservation and efficiency as we celebrate National Energy Awareness Month.
Established by presidential proclamation in 1991 to promote energy efficiency, Energy Awareness Month is an ideal time for homeowners and businesses to assess how much energy they’re consuming and identify ways they can reduce waste and costs.
“With the change in season comes a shift in energy usage as customers keep the lights on longer and turn on heaters to compensate for fewer hours of daylight and colder temperatures,” said Rick DelaHaya, Gulf Power spokesperson. “It’s relatively easy to save energy and money, and we want to help customers find ways they can save through low-cost or no-cost measures.”
Here are several tips for saving energy in your home or business:
Get an Energy Checkup
- Customers can get a free Energy Checkup online or in their home — a Gulf Power energy expert can make a house call to analyze their home and electricity use and look for ways to save money and energy. Go to MyGulfPower.com/checkup.
Adjusting your thermostat
- As much as half of the electricity in your home goes to heating and cooling. Set the thermostat and then forget it. If you change the temperature often during the day, you are more likely to waste energy.
- In the winter, try setting the thermostat at 68° or below.
- Change or clean your air conditioner filter monthly. Dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce efficiency.
- Use your ceiling fan for more comfort, but only when you’re in the room. Remember to reverse the direction of your ceiling fan in winter to push warmer ceiling air downward for added comfort.
Stay warm in the winter — There are many things you can do to make you and your home more comfortable in the winter. Consider these tips for staying warm:
- Use an electric blanket at night. An electric blanket is more economical than heating the entire house all night long.
- Keep cold wind outside by closing garage doors.
- Close all louvers and vents in the attic or foundation walls during the winter — but be sure to open them when the weather turns warm.
- If you use portable electric heaters, use them only in small areas. Buy models that are thermostatically controlled.
- Leave draperies open on sunny days so your house will absorb the sun's heat. Close them on the shaded side of the house and at night.
No-waste lighting — Making it a habit to turn off lights that are not being used is a good way to avoid wasted energy. Here are some more energy-saving tips for lighting:
- Use fluorescent lighting. It is more economical than incandescent lighting, producing five times more light with the same amount of energy and lasting 10 to 15 times longer.
- Lamps with three-way switches are a good buy. You can lower the settings when less light is required.
- Use night-lights, which are low wattage, instead of leaving larger-wattage hall or room lights on at night.
- Install outdoor and security lights with a photoelectric switch that turns the light on at dusk and off at dawn. It's an investment that pays for itself.
- Consider replacing incandescent lights in outside locations with lights that consume less energy and have a longer life.
- Open drapes on south-facing windows during winter daylight hours to get "free" light and heat.
Energy Select — Energy Select is a free advanced energy management and pricing program offered by Gulf Power that can help you save money and energy. You get:
- A thermostat you program for comfort and savings.
- Online programming — You can now program your Energy Select thermostat from any computer with Internet access, or smart phone or tablet.
- A special rate that features four different prices based upon the time of day, day of week and season. And, because the price you pay is lower than the normal rate 87 percent of the time, you can choose to buy electricity during lower-priced periods, which saves you money and energy.
- FREE installation.
- Go to MyGulfPower.com/energyselect or call 1-877-655-4001 for more information.
- Increase attic insulation, which can save up to 30 percent on cooling and heating costs.
- Insulation is measured in R-value, which is a measure of resistance to heat flow. So the higher the R-value, the better the insulation value.
- Experts recommend you use an R-value of R-38 in ceiling areas.
- Check your windows and doors for air leaks. Install weather stripping or caulking if needed. Also check fireplace dampers for a tight fit and keep them closed when not in use.
For more energy saving tips, visit MyGulfPower.com or call 1-877-655-4001.
Gulf Power is an investor-owned electric utility with all of its common stock owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company. Gulf Power serves more than 447,000 customers in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida. The company¹s mission is to safely provide exceptional customer value by delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity while strengthening our communities. Visit online at MyGulfPower.com or on the company¹s Facebook page. News information can be found at GulfPowerNews.com.