Alcoa Electric offers winter efficiency tips

With winter temperatures across East Tennessee dipping into the 20s and 30s at night, customers could see an increase in their electric bills during the cold winter months. But there are simple steps you can take to save energy throughout your home.

• Heating: Turn down your heating system’s thermostat to 68°F. Turn it down even lower if no one is home for several days. Change filters monthly. Install a “filter whistle” to let you know when to change them. Repair air leaks and seal and insulate heating system ductwork.

• Water heating: Lower your water heater temperature to 120°F and reduce hot water use by taking shorter showers and using cold water for laundry whenever possible. Wrap your water heater with insulation or install an insulating blanket. Once a year, drain about one gallon of water from your water heater to remove sediment. Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads and repair leaky faucets.

• Lighting and electronics: Turn off lights, televisions and computers when not in use. Use power strips for home electronics, and turn off power strips when equipment is not in use. TV’s and DVD players still use power when the switch is off. Replace common incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents.

• Refrigerator: Clean refrigerator coils and set the temperature to 36° to 39°F and the freezer to 0° to 5°F. Remove and recycle your second refrigerator.

• Fireplace: Make sure the fireplace damper is closed when not in use. Don’t send warm air up the chimney.

• Cooking and dish washing: Match the size of your pot or pan to the size of stove burner and cover them with lids when cooking. Air dry dishes instead of using the dishwasher’s drying option.

• Insulation: Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors to stop air leaks. Seal any gaps in floors and walls around pipes and electrical wiring. Add insulation to your attic, crawl space and any accessible exterior walls. Add pipe insulation to first 5 feet of water pipe coming from your water heater. Install light switch and electrical outlet seals on exterior walls.

More steps a homeowner can take for energy conservation are available at the City of Alcoa’s Web site at

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