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TVA warns of cold weather, offers savings tips

As the temperature drops and cold winter weather rules, heating systems are working hard to keep their owners comfortable. With the National Weather Service in Huntsville forecasting a chilly drop this week, officials at the Tennessee Valley Authority are advising steps homeowners can take to keep themselves cozy and save money despite the frigid weather.

Temperatures are dropping across the Tennessee Valley, and that can mean bad news for heating bills, even for people who are keeping the thermostat at a sensible 68 degrees. A heater has to work harder and harder to keep up as the outdoor temperature drops.

To keep that power bill under control, the TVA recommends citizens consider lowering the thermostat – even just a degree or two. According to the TVA, for every one degree you drop it, you’ll experience an up to 3 percent savings. Consider installing an ENERGY STAR-certified programmable thermostat to automatically keep the house cool when no one is home and warm it up when the family returns.

There are plenty of other ways to optimize one’s heating system and stay warm on the coldest days of the year. The TVA and local power companies are on the job to make sure there’s plenty of power to keep Franklin County warm, but “when you save money, it helps the power system and benefits not only you but the entire Valley,” according to the TVA.

Try these as winter rolls on:

  1. Let there be light – Keep curtains open on the south side of the house and closed on the north during the day to trap the warming sunlight.
  2. Bundle up – Insulate heating and cooling ducts and repair any air leaks.
  3. Lay it down – Add insulation to your attic, crawlspaces and any accessible exterior walls.
  4. Keep it clean – Change air filters monthly. Dirty filters force heating systems to work harder.
  5. Seal it up – Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors.
  6. Stop the gaps – Install insulating gaskets to exterior light switches and electrical outlets to stop air leaks.
  7. Family meals – Take advantage of the heat generated by cooking.
  8. Close the damper – Don’t send warm air up the chimney. Make sure the fireplace damper is closed when not in use.
  9. Decorate – Use area rugs with hardwood or tile floors to keep feet warm.
  10. Create breathing room – Keep weeds and debris away from the outdoor unit of the heating system.

For more information about how to create a more energy-efficient home, and even earn incentives for making energy-smart upgrades, visit