Monday, January 17, 2011

Use your electric heat pump wisely during cold weather

Snow. Ice. Temperatures in the teens. The winter weather the past few weeks has certainly been unusual for South Carolina. No doubt, your electric heat pump has been working overtime just to keep your home warm. Did you know you can still save energy – and money – even during abnormally cold weather if you use your electric heat pump wisely?

As outdoor temperatures drop, your electric heat pump needs help to produce enough heat to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home. To do so, your heat pump activates your unit’s heat strips (also known as auxiliary heat), which can cost up to three times more to operate.

If you have a heat pump and are away from home during the day, lower your thermostat several degrees from the recommended 68 degrees. When you return home, raise the thermostat one degree at a time until the desired setting is reached in order to avoid the heat strips from activating.

Here are more helpful tips to help you take control of your energy bill this winter:

  1. The best setting for your thermostat is around 68˚F. Each degree higher than that can significantly increase your heating costs, especially in older homes with less thermal efficiency.

  2. To protect your home from drafts, caulk, seal and install weather-stripping around all seams, cracks, and openings. Pay special attention around windows and exterior doors.

  3. Move furniture away from heating registers. Blocked registers make furnaces work harder and can result in a higher energy bill.

  4. Open the window shades on the south and west side of the house during the day to maximize the warmth of the sun.

  5. Check filters monthly and change when dirty. Adequate air flow through a heating system is critical to ensure efficient and comfortable operation.

  6. Annual maintenance, by a professional, on your central heating system can extend the life of the system while also maintaining optimum efficiency.
Additional Resources

Temperature Impact

Budget Billing

Ways to Save Energy and Money

Assistance Programs

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