The bright lights of the holiday season have faded, and South Dakotans now face the cold and dark days of winter for the next few months. Winter provides the opportunity to participate in fun outdoor activities such as sledding, skating, skiing, and snowmobiling. But winter can also be harsh in South Dakota as it brings subzero wind chills and blizzards to the plains. When it comes to using energy, there are several safety precautions and steps you can take to be safer and more efficient during the coldest days of the year. Here are some tips to keep your family warm and safe all season long.
Electric Heat Rate
Northern Electric Cooperative has an electric heat rate that is lower than the normal kilowatt-hour (kWh) charge. Co-op members who have a second meter – also known as a submeter - installed on their electric heating system only pay 4.7-cents per kWh for heat. If you have space heating equipment installed in your home that is 240-volts or more you could qualify for this rate. Call a Northern Electric Member Services Representative at 605-225-0310 to see if you qualify for this rate and can take advantage of the savings. There is no charge to investigate or install a submeter at a service location. However, there is a $3 per month submeter charge for the equipment. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
Turn Your Thermostat Down
The recommended thermostat setting to keep you warm and comfortable during the winter without breaking the budget is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the Department of Energy this is the optimal setting to save energy throughout the winter. It is also recommended to use a programmable thermostat to set the temperature even lower during the day when no one is home. The thermostat can be programmed to warm a home back up to 68 degrees before everyone arrives home at the end of the day.
Spin Your Ceiling Fan in Reverse
Did you know that you can change the direction your ceiling fans spin? Ceiling fans are mostly used in the summer to keep you cool but you can also reverse the direction of the fan to push warm air into a room. You can reverse the direction of the fan by flipping a switch that is typically located on the motor housing above the blades. The fan should spin clockwise on the lowest setting in the winter to push warm air trapped near the ceiling down into the room. But do not forget to switch the direction of the fan in the spring so it keeps you cool during the hottest months of the year.
Be Aware When Plowing Snow
It is also important to keep safety in mind during the winter. Make sure you are aware of any electrical cabinets, poles, or wires located on your property when you are clearing snow. Snow can bury electrical equipment which can lead to accidents with plows or tractors. Mark these electrical hazards and always shovel by hand around this equipment.
Following a few of these electrical tips can help you save money and stay safe as we look forward to warmer spring days.