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Maximizing energy efficiency during the winter

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Special to theNews-Times

Frigid temperatures continue to move through parts of our service area, kicking heaters and energy consumption into high gear. Fortunately, people can stay warm while managing energy usage and costs by making their homes more energy efficient.

Heating costs can account for more than 50 percent of monthly energy usage. Instead of cranking up the thermostat when the temperatures drop, the following free or low-cost steps to remain comfortable and save energy and money on utility bills:

•Seal air leaks: Use caulk or weatherstripping around doors, windows and any location where there may be a path between the inside and outside.

•Adjust the thermostat: Set the thermostat to 68 degrees during winter months, and dress in layers to stay warm. Each degree above 68 can increase an energy bill by about 3 percent.

•Conserve hot water: Set your hot water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees, or the medium setting. Wrap electric water heaters with water heater blankets, which can be found at home improvement stores.

•Keep doors and windows closed: Constant traffic will let out warm air, forcing heaters to work harder to keep the room at a set temperature.

•Ensure fans are turning the right way: Fans should run at a low speed clockwise during the winter to prevent the cold air from blowing down on you.

•Replace air filters: Dirty filters make heating systems work harder. Replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

•Use sunlight to your advantage: During the day, open curtains and blinds to let in the warm sunlight. Close them at night to reduce heat loss.

Entergy Texas also offers free comprehensive residential energy audits and rebates to help reduce the upfront cost of installing energy-efficient equipment. Visit entergy.com/energyefficiency for more information.

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