Tips offered to save energy

After facing frigid winter temperatures recently, Texas County resdients now facing the inevitable pinch of next month’s utility bills may want to find ways to keep heating and energy costs down.

A wealth of information is only a few computer clicks away with a visit to Missouri’s BEE Web site. That’s B.E.E., as in “” (

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Energy Center and the Missouri Public Service Commission jointly launched the BEE Web site last fall to help Missourians impacted by home heating costs. In addition to tips, the site also includes video clips touring a typical home to locate energy saving opportunities, and links to many other online sources of energy saving information. A sampling of energy-saving winter heating tips on the site includes:

– When not in use, make sure the fireplace damper is tightly closed.

– Make sure vents are not blocked by furniture or drapes.

– Clean warm air-registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed.

– Set back your thermostat. Each degree you lower your thermostat can cut your heating costs between 1 and 3 percent. The lower you set it, the more you’ll save. A common strategy is to lower thermostat settings to 68 degrees. (Seniors and people with special medical needs should check with their doctors before changing normal home temperatures or considering turning off heating units.)

– Turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees during sleeping hours or while you’re away can save even more money on your heating bill.

– Invest in a programmable thermostat, which can be set to lower temperatures automatically at night or when no one is home.

– Clean or replace furnace air filters once a month, or more often when dirty.

– Weatherize. Seal air leaks around doors, windows and other openings, such as plumbing and electrical penetrations and holes through the foundation, walls and ceiling.

– Lower the thermostat on your water heater. For most uses, 115 degrees is comfortable.

– If you’re planning to replace a furnace, or other heating system, install equipment that is highly efficient. Look for the ENERGY STAR(r) label to find the most energy-efficient equipment available.

– While you’re at it, seek out the ENERGY STAR(r) label when you’re thinking about replacing other appliances or home electronics.

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