Ideas on saving energy and money this winter
Xcel Energy encourages customers to take steps to save energy and money this winter, as energy costs increase nationwide due to higher wholesale natural gas prices. The company’s energy savings tips and energy efficiency programs can help you lower your natural gas and electric bills, and you are encouraged to reach out to Xcel Energy if you’re having difficulty paying your energy bills, so the company can connect you to payment and assistance programs.
The increase in natural gas prices across the nation is caused by continuing supply and demand conditions in the global market. The wholesale price of natural gas delivered to customers or used to generate electricity is paid directly by customers without any cost markup from Xcel Energy.
Although higher wholesale natural gas prices primarily affect customers’ natural gas bills, you can also save on your electric bills by conserving energy, since natural gas is used to generate electricity. Please visit a new page at xcelenergy.com/WaysToSave to find a one-stop shop with ways to save energy and money, have more stable bills, learn about payment assistance and more.
Here are some ways you can conserve energy:
- Let the sunlight in and keep the cold out – Open blinds to take advantage of the sun's warmth during the day, but close them at night to insulate against the cold air outside.
- Lower your thermostat – During winter months, set the thermostat between 65 and 70 degrees while you’re home, and 58 degrees when you're away. A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature based on your routine and could help you save on heating costs.
- Make sure exterior doors are fully closed – A major source of a home’s heat loss is from exterior doors that are left cracked open or not latched.
- Use fans to your advantage – During colder months, run ceiling fans clockwise, so warm air near the ceiling is forced down.
- Keep your oven’s heat where it belongs – Use your oven light or timer to avoid opening it often while you cook. Each time the door is open, even for just a few seconds, the temperature drops 25 degrees. Put lids on your pots and pans while cooking to speed up cooking time and keep the heat where it’s needed most.
- Lower your water heater’s temperature or insulate it – The proper temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. By lowering it 10 degrees, you can save 3 to 5% on your water heating costs, and you can also insulate it to maximize efficiency.
- Keep filters clean – Dirty furnace filters reduce airflow, requiring your furnace to work harder and use more energy. Change the filter once a month during the winter to reduce your heating costs by 5 to 15%.
- Don’t let the heat escape – Affordable window sealing kits can be found in most local home improvement stores and can help you save. Have your home evaluated for leaky ducts, drafts around doors, windows and fireplace dampers, and other places where air might escape.
- Improve insulation – Improving the insulation of walls, crawl spaces, floors and heating ducts is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy costs, saving you up to 10% on your monthly energy bill.
More tips for saving money and energy can be found at xcelenergy.com/Tips. The company also offers incentives and rebates that customers can use to make their homes and businesses more efficient. Find more information by clicking on “Programs & Rebates” at xcelenergy.com.
Get help with bills
Xcel Energy will always work with customers to provide options such as payment plans and assistance programs to get them through difficult times. If you’re facing challenges paying your energy bills, you are encouraged to contact Xcel Energy to set up a payment arrangement or learn more about assistance options that may be available.
Learn more by visiting xcelenergy.com/EnergyAssistance or by calling 1-800-895-4999. You can also enroll in the Averaged Monthly Payment program to help make your monthly energy bills more predictable.