With the first cool mornings now under our weather belt this fall, you may be tempted to turn on the furnace. Indiana-Michigan Power has some tips to consider as the cold weather months get closer:
1. Set thermostat a little lower during winter months. A customer can reduce heating costs 2-3% for each degree of adjustment. Changing the temperature from 72°F to 68°F could lower an energy bill by up to 10%.
2. Change or clean the furnace filter once a month. Dust and dirt can quickly clog vital parts, making the furnace run harder and eventually break down.
3. Have the heating system inspected regularly. A $50-$100 annual tune-up can help reduce heating costs by up to 5%.
4. Vacuum registers and vents regularly. Don’t let furniture and draperies block the airflow.
Inexpensive plastic deflectors can direct air under tables and chairs.
5. Safely repair and/or apply weather stripping to air leaks in the home. Up to 25% of energy used to heat/cool homes escapes via air leaks. Areas to check include dropped ceilings, recessed lighting, attic entrances, ducts, doorframes, electrical outlets and switches, window frames and plumbing/utility access.
6. Check the outside of a home or building for air leaks. Look for leaks at the openings for water spigots, air conditioner hoses, dryer vents and gas pipes. Use caulk or expanding foam to seal spaces.
7. If drafts sneak in under exterior doors, replace the threshold. If that’s not practical, block the drafts with a rolled-up towel or blanket.
8. If a home or building has electric baseboard heating, keep furniture and draperies away from the heaters. It’s advised to leave at least a three-inch clearance under the heating unit.
9. If a customer has a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned and inspected regularly. Burn only fully dried hardwoods to produce the most heat output.
10. Take extreme care when using a space heater. Place it at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including walls, and unplug it before leaving a room.
Heating Assistance Programs
Beginning on Nov. 1, I&M customers in Indiana can apply for winter heating assistance through various local and state agencies and organizations. To apply, please visit
www.IndianaMichiganPower.com/neighbor-to-neighbor and click on “Find an Agency.”
Flexible Payment Options
I&M has options for customers that include giving them more time to pay their bills, as well as setting up payment plans. I&M offers payment extension giving customers a few more days to pay their bill in full and extended payment arrangements that offer customers the ability to spread out payment over a few months.
Local and Federal Assistance
I&M works with many organizations to help customers find local and federal assistance. Customers can call 211, or visit IN211.org for Indiana or MI211.org for Michigan customers, for information about utility, housing, healthcare and many other types of assistance. They can also find a listing of local and federal assistance agencies on ElectricIdeas.com/Home.