Posted: Jan 6, 2010 2:21 PM by SLEMCO press release
Updated: Jan 6, 2010 2:21 PM
With every weather forecast calling for bitterly cold temperatures in Acadiana over the next few days, take time now to minimize the effect the weather will have on your utility bills next month.
"Everything we recommend to our customers in the summer to lower their cooling bills, we recommend the opposite in the winter," explains SLEMCO Communication Manager Mary Laurent.
"Layer your clothing and dress warmly, even inside. Thick socks or slippers can go a long way in keeping a chill from creeping into your bones. Watch television with blankets and prepare hot meals, like soup, gumbo or stew that will keep your body temperature up a bit. Since the worst part of the extreme cold is predicted to hit Acadiana over the weekend, it will be a great time to hibernate with your family, a good book or a good movie."
And above all, keep your heating thermostat set as low as possible - preferably no higher than 68 degrees.
Your utility bill is likely to be a bit more anyway, but you can minimize the increase by setting your thermostat only as high as absolutely needed.
Back in 1989, when temperatures here got down to nine degrees, while all utility bills went up, many families received heating bills that were twice as high as in milder years. Some bills tripled in size. The costs were dependent on the efficiency of the heating equipment and on how high the thermostat was set. While temperatures this weekend won't get anywhere near as low as nine degrees, it makes sense to minimize the cost increases.
Closing off unused rooms and their vents can concentrate heat in the areas where you and your family will need it most.
Using your fireplace in the living area of the home, while setting the heater lower for the rest of the house is another suggestion.
Setting your thermostat down even lower during the night, while you are under the covers will help too. When you get up, turn it up just enough to get the chill out of the air.
If your home gets lots of sunlight, open the curtains and let the sun warm up your house. Don't, however, use the oven or stove burners to try and heat up a home. This is both a safety hazard and a very poor use of energy.
When plotting your energy conservation plans for this weekend, keep in mind that infants and the elderly may need more heat in their homes. And use common sense in all your efforts. It won't help financial matters if you have succeeded in lowering your utility bills only to have higher doctor bills.