Old Man Winter is on the move with Southeast Texas expecting its coldest temperatures of the season before the week ends. It may be tempting to crank up the thermostat to compensate, but doing so can mean significant increases to your energy bill.

“When the thermostat is turned up, energy use increases and bills rise, too,” said Vernon Pierce, Entergy Texas vice president of customer service. “Heating and air conditioning make up more than half of most energy bills. The best way to manage your electric usage during cold weather is to keep your thermostat set on 68 degrees. Each degree warmer will increase your bill by about three percent.”

Other ways to stay comfortable and save energy when temperatures drop include:

  • Conserve hot water. Heating water for cooking, cleaning, laundry and bathing is the second-largest energy user in homes. Insulating blankets for electric water heaters are inexpensive and readily available at home improvement stores. Also, set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or medium.
  • Seal air leaks and duct work. In the South, leaky ducts waste more energy than any other single item. To stop the loss, duct work should be made airtight everywhere ducts attach to vents, each other and the heating/cooling unit. Use mastic as the preferred choice to seal these locations or foil tape. Some do-it-yourselfers can handle this job. Others may want to hire a professional.
  • Think long term. Making your home more energy efficient is a good move for lowering bills all year round. Start with Entergy Texas’ Entergy Solutions program. A wealth of information, tips and even DIY videos are available to help homeowners improve their home’s energy efficiency.

Entergy Texas provides electric service to more than 426,000 customers in 27 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly approximately 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.