Cold weather tips can help you stay warm and save money too

When temperatures drop, home heating can have the biggest impact on your electric bill.cold-weather-tips Here are some simple tips that can help you stay warm and save money on your electric bill.

  • Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees or the lowest comfortable setting, and keep the settings constant. With a heat pump, limit the activation of the supplemental heat strip by making minor, periodic adjustments to the thermostat.
  • Keep the fan of your central heating unit set to “auto.”
  • Minimize use of major appliances during cold snaps.
  • Turn off unnecessary lighting. Consider replacing incandescent lights with compact florescent (CFLs) or LED lighting.
  • Lower the thermostat on your electric water heater to 120 – 140 degrees and limit hot water usage.
  • Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed. Make sure they are properly sealed. Set thermostats at proper temperatures to achieve best energy efficiency.
  • Keep fireplace dampers closed when not in use.
  • Inspect air filters regularly (replace them monthly).
  • Turn your thermostat off when your home is unoccupied for extended periods of time.

Tampa Electric offers several energy-saving programs like Energy Planner that can help you save year round.  Learn more about these and find other energy saving tips at tampaelectric.com/save.

Staying safe and warm indoors

Here are some helpful safety tips to keep in mind when using electric blankets and space heaters:

  • Make sure your electric blanket is in good condition. Look for cracks or breaks in the wiring, plugs or connectors and look for charred spots on both sides of the blanket surfaces. Any of these conditions indicates a potential fire hazard.
  • To prevent excessive heat buildup, make sure nothing covers your electric blanket, such as quilts, blankets or pets. Never “tuck in” the sides or ends of your electric blanket. The heating coils may become damaged or bent and may cause a fire.
  • Sleeping on a heating pad or electric sheet may cause serious burns even at relatively low settings.
  • Don’t leave your space heater on all night. The fire hazard is too great. Use extra blankets instead.
  • If you use an extension cord, be sure it’s heavy duty and in good condition. And, make sure the cord is rated to handle the power your space heater requires. Don’t use household-type extension cords with your space heaters.
  • Keep your space heater away from drapes, furniture and other flammable materials.
  • Be certain your home wiring is designed to handle your space heater. If you have any doubts, contact a licensed electrician.
  • Avoid using your space heater in the bathroom. If you must, keep it as far away as possible from the shower, tub and sink. And never touch the heater when you’re wet!
  • Make sure your heater has an automatic switch that turns off the electric current if the unit is tipped over.

Helping neighbors in need

Tampa Electric Share, a program co-sponsored by Tampa Electric and the Salvation Army, lets you help customers in need pay their electric bills. Visit tampaelectric.com/share to make your voluntary, tax-deductible contribution. Every dollar you donate goes directly to helping a neighbor in need. And, Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas are proud to match your contributions dollar-for dollar up to a combined $500,000 annually.

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