10:42 AM

Jackson EMC Offers Energy Saving Tips for the Winter

Jackson EMC is advising members how to save energy this winter, as temperatures have been colder recently. Sustained cooler temperatures can cause an increase in energy use as heating systems work harder and longer to keep homes and businesses warm.

In December and January, there were twice as many days below freezing as a year ago. Typically, when temperatures remain below freezing, energy use is higher.

Jackson EMC members consumed more than 83 million additional kilowatt-hours in January than December. The January energy usage for the cooperative was the highest it has been since 2018. On average, members saw about a $32 increase in their bill from December to January during the colder winter weather.

Historically, Northeast Georgia sees freezing temperatures through February and March. To save money, Jackson EMC recommends you follow these energy efficient tips:

Energy Efficient Heating Habits

  • Set your thermostat to 68 degrees.
  • Only set your thermostat to “emergency heat” in the event the heat pump is not working. Since emergency heat costs nearly twice as much to operate as the heat pump during normal operation, it should not be used except in the case of system failure while awaiting repairs.
  • Check and/or replace air filters every 1–2 months. Dirty or clogged air filters restrict airflow and cause your compressor to work harder, increasing costs.
  • Use your fireplace sparingly, as it draws your home’s heated air up the chimney.
  • Homes with heat pumps: In the winter, nighttime setbacks and frequent thermostat changes will increase energy costs and are not recommended. Programmable and smart thermostats designed for heat pumps permit setbacks without increasing operating costs.

Cut Energy Use Everywhere Else

  • Activate “sleep” features on computers and office equipment that power down when the equipment is not in use for more than an hour.
  • Do full loads when you use clothes washers, dryers and dishwashers.
  • Use dimmers, timers and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED lightbulbs, which burn longer and use less energy.
  • Turn off or unplug unused appliances or lights.

Plan for the Long Term

  • Insulate floors, walls and attics to keep homes cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
  • Have your air conditioner tuned-up. Consider a maintenance contract that provides a checkup twice a year, prior to peak cooling and heating seasons.
  • If your HVAC unit is 10 years old or older, consider replacing it. New models are more energy efficient and may lower your electric bill. Jackson EMC offers rebates and low-interest loans for qualifying members. More details about these programs are available at jacksonemc.com/rebates.
  • Sign up for budget billing, which can minimize the impact weather has on electric bills. Jackson EMC’s budget billing plan for members works by averaging the current month and the last 11 months of electric use, which becomes the new monthly payment amount. Visit jacksonemc.com/budgetbilling, to learn more.

For more money-saving tips, visit jacksonemc.com/waystosave.

Jackson Electric Membership Corporation, the largest electric cooperative in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation, is headquartered 50 miles northeast of Atlanta in Jefferson, Ga. The cooperative serves more than 240,000 meters on 14,000 miles of energized wire. For more information, visit jacksonemc.com.