We know you have more important ways to spend your money than on unnecessary energy costs. Through our partnership with TVA, Starkville Utilities offers several energy-saving incentives and solutions for residential customers through EnergyRight program.

Bill-payment assistance is also available for qualifying customers through the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. For more information about LIHEAP, weatherization assistance and other helpful programs, visit Prairie Opportunity, Inc.

When it comes to improving home energy efficiency, customers should consider these simple steps to save money year-round.

Summer tips to help you save energy at home

It is normal to see an increase in utility bills during hot weather. Small adjustments will make a big difference, and the best part is that most of these tips are free and easy to implement. For more tips, visit Energy Saver

  • Operate thermostats efficiently. The ideal thermostat setting in the summer is 78°F. Keep your house warmer than normal when you’re away and lower the thermostat only when you are home. However, avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you return. This doesn’t cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.
  • Install programmable thermostats or time clocks to automatically control temperature settings on heating and air conditioning equipment.
  • Keep your cooling system running efficiently. Schedule regular maintenance. Vacuum return vents regularly to remove dust buildup and ensure that furniture and other objects do not block airflow.
  • Switch from A/C to fans. Cooling your entire house with central A/C can cost about $1 to $2 per hour. Using a portable or ceiling fan to circulate air in one room can cost about 4 cents per hour and allows you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. Be sure to turn off fans when you leave the room; fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.
  • Freshen A/C filters regularly. Clean or replace the filter in your central A/C to help it run more efficiently.
  • Use ventilation strategies. When you shower or bathe, use the bathroom fan to remove heat and humidity. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside, not just to the attic.
  • Keep cold air inside and hot air outside. Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home and cold air from escaping. Weatherstrip and caulk drafty doors and windows to keep conditioned air in and save up to 5 percent on cooling costs.
  • Power down. Turn off or set office equipment to power down when not in use. Turning off one computer and monitor nightly and on weekends can save up to $80 a year. Setting PCs, monitors and copiers to use sleep mode when not in use can help cut energy costs by up to 50 percent. Use power strips or unplug electronics such as game consoles and TVs that draw power even when switched off.
  • Don't heat your home with appliances and lighting. On hot days, avoid using the oven; cook on the stove, use a microwave or grill outside. Install efficient lighting that runs cooler. Minimize activities that generate excess heat, such as running a computer, burning open flames, running a dishwasher, and using curling irons, hair dryers and other hot devices. Even stereos and TVs will add some heat to your home.
  • Close curtains, blinds and shades to block outdoor heat from radiating inside. Try to use light, reflective window coverings to deflect the sun’s rays.
  • Lower your water-heating costs. Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of home energy use. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes, and consider air drying both dishes and clothing. Take short showers instead of baths.
  • Unplug electronics when away from home. Some appliances and devices use energy even when turned off.
  • Use LEDs. Replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs (light emitting diodes), which provide the same amount of light, use up to 75 percent less energy and can last up to 10 times longer.
  • Filter your swimming pool for less when you switch to an energy-efficient, variable-speed pool pump.
  • Use a pool or spa cover. Covers can reduce heat loss by up to 90 percent.
  • Install occupancy sensors. These inexpensive devices can reduce lighting costs by up to 40 percent.
  • Invest in energy-efficient equipment. Always look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol, which indicates it meets federal standards for energy efficiency.
Cost-saving tips for winter

Cooler weather gives many of us a much-appreciated break from the summer heat, but this is not the case for your HVAC system. Heating your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home, typically making up about 42 percent of your utility bill. Fortunately, there are several ways to increase energy efficiency and lower heating costs during cold weather. For more tips, visit Energy Saver

  • Save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while asleep or away from home.
  • Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows.
  • Keep vents open and uncluttered to maximize airflow efficiency.
  • Replace furnace or heat pump filters once a month or as needed.
  • Keep fireplace dampers closed when not in use.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to reduce waste heat.
  • Install energy-efficient light bulbs that use less power and last longer.Use a programmable thermostat to reduce waste heat.
  • 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.
  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they're not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
  • Eliminate trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if unsure about how to perform this task, contact a professional.
  • Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  • During winter, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

Protect pipes during freezing weather:

  • Insulate vulnerable pipes and install outdoor faucet covers.
  • Keep garage doors closed, especially if the garage contains water lines.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around pipes.
  • Let cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes.

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