As part of its “Watt Watchers: Use Energy Wisely” program, Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Power reminds its customers that now is an excellent time to take easy, inexpensive steps to reduce household energy consumption and lower energy bills this winter.



As part of its “Watt Watchers: Use Energy Wisely” program, Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Power reminds its customers that now is an excellent time to take easy, inexpensive steps to reduce household energy consumption and lower energy bills this winter.

Reducing air leaks and drafts could cut as much as 10 percent from an average household's monthly energy bill. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the most common places where air escapes in homes are floors, walls and ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, plumbing, doors, and windows.

To help prepare your home for falling temperatures and conserve energy, Allegheny offers the following tips:

  • Make sure your home is insulated to adequate standards. The easiest and most cost-effective way to insulate your home is to install additional insulation in the attic. Allegheny says if you have less than 6 or 7 inches, you can probably benefit by adding more.

  • Install storm windows over single-pane windows or replace them with double-pane windows.

  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows that leak air.

  • When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue damper tightly closed. Open dampers allow warm air to escape 24 hours a day.

  • Locate your heating thermostat correctly. Mount the thermostat five feet from the floor so that it can sense air that's representative of the room's temperature. Don't locate thermostats on the inner surface of an outside wall, in corners, behind doors, in closets, near windows, or by a heat source.

  • Reduce your annual heating costs even more by installing a programmable thermostat, setting it properly and maintaining those settings.

  • Keep the overhead door of an attached garage closed to block cold air from infiltrating your house. Also, keep the connecting door to the house and heated basement closed.

  • Close hot-air registers and radiator valves in unused rooms with all types of heating systems, except a heat pump. For zoned systems, such as ceiling cable or baseboard, set the thermostat back in unused areas.

  • Make sure draperies and furniture do not block the heating registers in your house.

  • Open draperies on south-facing windows on sunny winter days to take advantage of available solar heat.

  • Use bath and kitchen exhaust fans only when needed during the heating season. Fans draw heated air out of your home.

  • Set your heating thermostat as low as comfort permits. Each degree over 68 degrees F can add 3 percent to the amount of energy needed for heating and each degree below 68 degrees can save about the same amount of energy.

  • Check your furnace filter at least once a month during the heating season and clean or replace it as needed.

    For more information or to request the brochure "100 Ways to Control Your Energy Bill," visit www.alleghenypower.com and click on the Watt Watchers link.