Save Money, Stay Cozy by Keeping Warm In, Winter Out

It’s time to prepare for cold-weather energy savings

Colder weather can give you the chills, and so can higher-than-normal heating bills. With winter on the way, now’s the time to take control of heating expenses while improving home energy efficiency with tips from Starkville Utilities’ Warm In, Winter Out initiative.

“No one wants to waste their hard-earned money, but that’s what can happen when homes aren’t prepared for extreme weather,” said Edward Kemp, Starkville Utilities general manager. “Our Warm In, Winter Out initiative focuses on simple improvements that customers can perform themselves without investing lots of time and money, and most are effective for all seasons.”

Air leaks are among the greatest sources of energy loss in a home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. By caulking, sealing and weatherstripping seams, cracks and openings to the outside, customers can save 10% to 20% on their heating and cooling bills.

Customers can save another 10% annually by following recommended thermostat settings year-round. During cold weather, the DOE suggests setting thermostats at 68°F while awake and lowering the setting while asleep or away from home. Consider installing an Energy Star-certified programmable thermostat.

Because space heaters are responsible for the majority of fatal house fires, customers are encouraged to use central heating units and make sure vents are open and filters are clean to optimize performance.

No matter the season, switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to reduce energy bills. The DOE reports that the average U.S. household has about 70 lightbulbs. One Energy Star-certified LED lightbulb uses up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can save about $55 in electricity costs over its lifetime. They also last 15–25 times longer.

Here are more tips to improve energy efficiency and lower heating bills this winter:

  • Trap the sunlight’s warmth by keeping curtains open on the south side of the house and closed on the north side during the day.
  • Add insulation to your attic, crawl spaces and any accessible exterior walls. Consult the Energy Star recommended insulation levels or ask a home energy professional to evaluate options for your home.
  • Change air filters monthly. Dirty filters force your heating system to work harder.
  • Seal leaky attic stairs by building or buying an insulated box. Visit for DIY instructions.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use. Consider an inflatable chimney balloon to seal your fireplace flue.
  • Use area rugs if you have hardwood or tile floors to keep your feet warm.
  • Keep weeds and debris away from the outdoor unit of your heating system.
  • Cover pots and pans when cooking to help food cook faster and use less energy.
  • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.
  • Turn down your water heater temperature to the warm setting (120°F).
  • Unplug electronics when away from home. Some appliances and devices use energy even when turned off.
  • Avoid streaming on game consoles, which use 10 times more power than streaming through a tablet or laptop. Streaming content with Energy Star-certified electronic equipment uses 25%–30% less energy than standard equipment.
“Using a combination of strategies is the most effective way to reduce monthly bills,” said Kemp. “Through our partnership with Tennessee Valley Authority, customers also can sign up for a free energy study and save money by making their homes and businesses more energy efficient.”

Starkville Utilities is a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.

We are a Water and Electric Utilities Company in Starkville