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Duke Energy offers tips to help customers to prepare their homes for approaching seasonal cold weather

With seasonal cold weather on the horizon and an increase in the cost of energy across the globe, Duke Energy is reminding customers of available tips, tools and assistance programs to help them prepare for higher winter bills.

Sealing drafty openings is one important step to lowering energy costs (Photo form Creative Commons)

“We recognize we still are in challenging economic times, and approaching cold weather and higher energy prices could create additional hardships on our customers,” said Amy Spiller, president, Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “The increase in fuel prices is set by the market and passed through to customers with no markup. We know affordability is important to our customers, and we want to highlight steps we can all take now to reduce energy usage and better manage bills.”

Low to no-cost energy-saving tips and projects

Natural gas use typically spikes in the winter as customers combat low temperatures to stay warm. Electric customers are affected by the increased cost of natural gas to fuel power plants. Below are tips to help customers prepare for cold weather and manage energy use.

Learn how to reduce energy use. The first step to reduce energy use in your home is to identify and prioritize energy-saving improvements. This can be accomplished through a certified auditor or by performing your own energy audit.

Seal air ducts. Make sure the air ducts from your home’s furnace and central air conditioner are properly sealed. Ducts that leak into the attic or crawl space can substantially increase your heating and cooling bills.

Seal your home. One of the quickest energy-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal and weatherstrip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside. This can save 10% to 20% on your heating and cooling bills.

Programmable Thermostats are another low-cost way to conserve energy (Photo from Creative Commons)

Install smart thermostats. Install a “smart” or programmable thermostat to reduce your energy use while you are asleep or away.

Manage water heating. Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or consider installing an on-demand or tankless water heater that only heats water when you need it.

Consider insulation. Consider whether you need to add insulation to your ceiling, floors, and walls. Insulation between the indoors and outdoors reduces energy demand, saving you money while improving the comfort of your home.

Operate ceiling fans in a clockwise direction, which pushes warm air back down into the room.

Change air filters regularly; a dirty air filter makes a heating system work harder, which uses more energy.

Have HVAC systems checked regularly by a qualified heating and air conditioning contractor to maintain efficiency and peak performance.

Leave drapes or blinds open during sunny winter days to allow the sun to warm the house. Close them at night to help insulate your home.

Check out these easy tutorials on how to install weather stripping on doors and windows, or how to caulk around doors and windows.

From Duke Energy

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