Don’t Let the Brutal Cold Impact Your Pocketbook

January 13, 2009

DUBLIN, Ohio, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ — The Northeast and Midwest are plummeting into a deep freeze that will prompt many Americans to turn up the heat as they struggle to combat the cold. With overnight lows expected to be in negative double-digit territory, and daytime highs not much better, this is prime time for out-of-control energy bills.

“The month of January is on-track to be the coldest we have seen in quite some time which could lead to record energy consumption levels,” said Mike Beck, vice president and general manager for Direct Energy. “Fortunately, energy prices are the lowest they have been in awhile, which presents a perfect opportunity for customers to lock in a low energy rate through a fixed-price plan.”

Dave Walton, Director of Home Ideas for Direct Energy, says that in addition to securing a competitively priced energy plan, there are other ways for residents to keep electrical and natural gas costs down when temperatures plunge. Below are tips that consumers can follow to help save money on their heating bills while being mindful of the environment.

“During winter the furnace is the heart of the home and determines whether heating bills will be high or low,” says Walton. “Pay particular attention to the age of the furnace and follow these simple steps which will ensure the heating bill stays down this winter season.”

  1. Turn the thermostat down and layer up: Lowering the temperature in your home and donning an extra sweater indoors will save money on your heating bill and help in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Control your heat: More Americans are conserving energy in the home by installing a programmable thermostat. Lowering the temperature during the night and while the family is away during the day could save another 10 percent on heating bills.
  3. If you don’t use it, don’t heat it. Make sure you’re not heating uninsulated spaces like garages and crawl spaces. Also keep your garage door closed as much as possible, and close doors and warm-air registers in rooms you don’t use. This will keep the warm air in and the heating bills down.
  4. Poorly fitted windows are going to cost you: Up to 30 percent of the heating in your home can be lost through poorly fitted windows and doors. Seal all leaks with caulking and weather stripping – caulking one window that’s over 10 years old can save 5-10 percent in heating costs and is more energy efficient. Also, add clear plastic sheeting to windows to cut down on drafts.
  5. Clean your furnace filters: Clean or replace your furnace’s filter every 2 – 3 months and save as much as 10 percent on your heating bill. Having trouble remembering? A good rule of thumb is to clean or change your filter each time you pay your bill.
  6. Don’t let heat go up your chimney: If you have a wood-burning fireplace and don’t currently have a fire burning in it, close your chimney flue to prevent warm air from escaping. No one wants to heat the chilly outdoors.
  7. Get more insulation: Improving your home’s insulation system is one of the fastest and most cost effective ways to cut down on your heating costs. You should have approximately 12 inches of insulation in your attic, anything less and you should get it topped up.
  8. Out with the old, in with the new: Consider upgrading your old furnace to a new energy efficient unit. Not only will you be saving money on your heating bills, you will also be helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  9. High efficiency = high savings: A mid-efficiency furnace operates at 80 percent efficiency, so 20 cents of each dollar spent goes up the chimney. A new high-efficiency furnace operates at over 90 percent. When installing a new furnace consider a DC motor. DC motors use less energy than conventional motors and will save you money in the long run.

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy is one of North America’s largest energy and energy-related services providers with over 5 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 22 states plus DC and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, visit www.directenergy.com.

SOURCE Direct Energy

Source: newswire

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