Low temps, high energy use: How consumers can fight the chill

An HVAC system featuring the air filter, water heater and water softner


(December 7, 2017) Lexington, Neb. – With winter temps dropping, consumers may see a rise in their energy use. Dawson Public Power District has several tips to help consumers fight the chill and stay on budget.

According to Dawson PPD’s Energy Services Specialist Bobby Johnson, there are many opportunities for home owners and renters alike to save on energy costs.

Here are 10 quick tips to avoid high winter bills:

  1. Seal air leaks and insulate well to prevent heat from escaping and cold air from entering your home.
  2. Reduce waste heat by installing a programmable thermostat.
  3. Turn off lights when not in use.
  4. Decrease your water heater temperature. The Department of Energy recommends using the warm setting of 120 degrees during fall and winter months.
  5. Unplug electronics like kitchen appliances and TVs when you’re away.
  6. Open blinds and curtains during the day to allow sunlight in to warm your home.
  7. Close blinds and curtains at night to keep cold, drafty air out.
  8. Use power strips for multiple appliances, and turn off the main switch when you’re away from home.
  9. Wash clothes in cold water, and use cold-water detergent whenever possible.
  10. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, which use at least 75 percent less energy.

He cautions that consumers need to consider the average temperature and how it relates to their energy use. Compared to 2016, the average temperature in late October and early November was about ten degrees lower.

“Regardless of how a consumer is heating their home, their energy use naturally went up to maintain a comfortable temperature inside,” Johnson said.

In addition, Dawson PPD customers can monitor their energy use through the District’s bill pay portal SmartHub. This free service is available on desktop and a mobile app and shows hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and annual energy use.

“This is an excellent troubleshooting tool to see your normal electrical use and if anything is amiss,” Johnson said. “By monitoring your energy use, you can see in near real time if your changes are positively affecting your energy use and ultimately, your energy bill,” Johnson said.

Dawson PPD customers may visit DawsonPower.com and click on the Payments tab to set up their SmartHub account or call Bobby Johnson at 308-324-2386.

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