With seasonal winter weather on the horizon and an increase in the cost of energy across the globe, Duke Energy is reminding Florida customers of available tips, tools and assistance programs to help them prepare for higher winter bills.
“We understand customers are still recovering from recent economic challenges. Winter weather and higher natural gas prices could create additional hardships on our customers,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida president. “The increase in fuel prices is set by the market and passed through to customers with no markup. We want to highlight steps to help customers manage their energy usage and lower bills.”
Duke Energy Florida offers free Home Energy Checks to help customers identify how they can reduce their electric use and save money. Through this service, which can be performed online, over the phone or in person, the company’s energy advisors provide energy-saving recommendations and determine customers’ eligibility for company rebates toward energy-efficient improvements. Customers can turn to the updated online Home Energy Check tool or visit the company’s Home Energy Check website for additional information.
In addition, Duke Energy Florida recommends that customers take several steps to begin saving energy and money immediately:
- Learn how to reduce energy use. The first step to reduce energy use in your home is to identify and prioritize energy-saving improvements. This can be accomplished through a certified auditor or by performing your own energy audit. You may save as much as 3 percent on your energy bill for each degree you lower your thermostat.
- Change air filters regularly; a dirty air filter makes a heating system work harder, which uses more energy.
- Have HVAC system checked regularly by a qualified heating and air conditioning contractor to maintain efficiency and peak performance.
- Seal air ducts. Make sure the air ducts from your home’s furnace and central air conditioner are properly sealed. Ducts that leak into the attic or crawl space can substantially increase your heating and cooling bills.
- Seal your home. One of the quickest energy-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal and weatherstrip all seams, cracks and openings to the outside. This can save 10% to 20% on your heating and cooling bills.
- Install smart thermostats. Install a “smart” or programmable thermostat to reduce your energy use while you are asleep or away.
- Manage water heating. Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or consider installing an on-demand or tankless water heater that only heats water when you need it.
- Consider insulation. Consider whether you need to add insulation to your ceiling, floors and walls. Insulation between the indoors and outdoors reduces energy demand, saving you money while improving the comfort of your home.
- Operate ceiling fans in a clockwise direction, which pushes warm air back down into the room.
- Leave drapes or blinds open during sunny winter days to allow the sun to warm the house. Close them at night to help insulate your home.