Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Bright Idea for Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22. Here’s a great way to celebrate the occasion and improve your home’s energy efficiency. Replace your old incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Each ENERGY STAR® qualified CFL bulb can save you up to $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime*.

CFL bulbs are not only more energy efficient, they can make your life a little easier. CFLs last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, so you don’t need to change them as often. This makes them great for hard to reach places such as your recessed can lights or outdoor flood lights. You can learn how to pick the right CFL for the lamps and lighting fixtures in your home here.

Here’s some more good news about CFLs. You can now get instant discounts from SCE&G on ENERGY STAR qualified CFL bulbs and lighting fixtures at your local retailers, including WalMart and Home Depot. For a list of participating stores, go to sceg.com/EnergyWise.

Look for the SCE&G Energy Team Saturday April 23 at Lowe’s on Harbison Blvd in Columbia and at Lowe’s at The Market Shoppes in Mt. Pleasant between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. We’ll also be on hand to answer your questions about CFL bulbs and talk about our lighting discounts. You can also register to win a free Energy Efficiency Kit valued at $150.

This spring, put saving energy in a whole new light with energy efficient CFLs!

*Energy cost savings are estimates only and may vary by usage and current rates. Please see the ENERGY STAR CFL calculator for additional details on savings estimates: http://www.energystar.gov/cfls.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Is your home run efficiently?

College baseball season is underway and this year, USC’s Coach Ray Tanner has teamed up with SCE&G to help fans be more energy wise. During each home game, videos featuring Coach Tanner and the SCE&G Energy Team will air on the stadium scoreboard. Springtime is the perfect time to start saving more energy. Visit the SCE&G EnergyWise website to learn ways you can make your home more energy efficient.

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

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    What’s the thermostat got to do with it?

    A lot! Heating and cooling can make up as much as 50 percent or more of your annual energy bill. (http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_pie). Because of this, it is important to understand how your thermostat setting impacts your bill.

    The easiest way to take control of your heating costs is to monitor your thermostat setting. We recommend a setting of 68 degrees or lower in the winter. Each degree higher can significantly increase your heating costs during those long winter nights. If you currently keep your thermostat set higher than 68 degrees, try decreasing the thermostat setting a degree every few days to see if you are able to achieve a lower setting that’s comfortable.

    A few other ideas that could help keep your heating costs in check:
    • Turn down the thermostat - If you plan to be away for several hours during the day, consider turning your thermostat down several degrees beyond 68. If you’re planning to be out of town for several days, set your thermostat a few degrees lower (62-65 degrees should be fine) than normal. If you have an electric heat pump, remember to warm the house slowly upon your return. Never raise the thermostat higher than needed. Bump your thermostat up one to two degrees at a time until your desired temperature is achieved; adjusting this setting by more than one to two degrees could activate your heat strips.

    • Open the drapes - Opening your drapes or blinds during the day will let the heat of the sun in to help heat your home.

    • Keep interior doors open - Open interior doors allow proper air flow. This can help your heating and cooling system run more efficiently and easily achieve a more comfortable temperature within your home.

    As you can see, your thermostat setting has a lot to do with your monthly bill. Manage that thermostat and stay warm! For additional energy saving tips, visit our website at sceg.com/energywise.

    Have an energy efficiency question?

    Welcome to the EnergyWise® blog, a place to gain insights into energy efficiency tips and programs offered by South Carolina Electric & Gas. Have a specific question? Ask our Energy Team or comment to one of our posts below.