This week’s drop in temperature marks one of the first real cold snaps this winter. Clay Electric urges everyone to be mindful of both power usage and safety during frigid weather.
The weather dictates how often your heating system will operate based on your desired level of comfort. The colder the outdoor temperature, the greater the heat loss from inside the home, and the longer your heating system must operate to maintain your level of comfort.
Clay Electric recommends setting your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower.
Sherman Phillips, manager of the co-op's Energy Services Division, said, "To maintain a basic comfort level of 68 degrees inside the home when the outside temperature is 60 degrees, a heating system's run time is minimal and probably none."
"As it gets colder outside, the heating system will increase its run time proportionately to the heat loss from the home. The more efficient the home, the slower the heat transfer that will occur and the less run time required to maintain an inside temperature of 68 degrees," Phillips said. "By lowering the thermostat setting, energy savings can be realized. For every degree the thermostat is set below 68, a savings of about 5 percent can be achieved."
Space heaters use less electricity than your heat pump. You should turn down the thermostat by five degrees, however, and use just one space heater. Turn the space heater on only when you are in the room to save energy and generate savings.
If you use space heaters, Clay Electric encourages members to keep safety in mind. Already this winter, there have been news accounts of families left homeless from a fire due to a space heater being placed too close to flammable materials. Make sure the heater has an auto shutoff if the unit tips over, and locate the unit far enough away from flammable materials to avoid a fire.
If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is kept closed except when in use. Understand that while a crackling fire provides a pleasing ambiance, it’s not very energy efficient. As the fire burns in the fireplace, it pulls air that your home’s heating system has heated right up the chimney.