LUBBOCK, TX — As people trapped at home crank up temperatures to fight the freeze, they may be cranking up their bills with little benefit, according to Reliant Energy and Atmos Energy.
“What we see are some people thinking that, ‘Well if I turn my thermostat to 85 degrees, it will heat up the house quicker.’ That’s not true at all, so that’s why we want to pick a comfortable temperature and stay with that,” Wayne Morrison, principal of emerging technologies at Reliant Energy, said.
Energy experts said the thermostat is responsible for about half of heating and cooling costs in a residence, and for every degree the temperature goes above 70, bills go up too. So before you reach for the heat, they encourage homeowners to check for little things around the house that may be costing them money while letting the cold creep in.
“It’s good to have your heater, your AC serviced every year,” Edward Espinoza, manager of public affairs with Atmos Energy in Lubbock, said.
Espinoza added that people typically make the same mistakes every year, and they are easily fixed.
“[The mistakes are] not changing your filter, it’s keeping your doors open, it’s cracking your windows, it’s leaving your garage doors open, it’s not having enough insulation in your attic. It’s little things around your home, around your foundation that you need to start looking inside as well to make sure you winterize your home,” Espinoza said.
Both Espinoza and Morrison reminded people to check around doors and windows to see if cracks are letting cold through — issues that can be fixed by caulking and sealing the gaps.
Another money-saving idea? When people do leave their homes for a few days, turn off any fans and turn down the temperature to 50 degrees.
“Your pipes won’t freeze, but we’re not paying to warm a home when no one’s there,” Morrison said.
For more information on tips to safely heat your home without breaking the bank, you can head to Atmos energy’s fill list here.