Winter safety and energy-saving tips from SWEPCO

SHREVEPORT, LA., January 4, 2005 -- “AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) offers these tips to help our customers use energy wisely during this coldest month of the year,” says Scott McCloud, SWEPCO communications consultant in Shreveport. “SWEPCO’s service area could experience the impact of snow, sleet, freezing rain and extremely cold temperatures during January and February, making home safety and energy-saving tips a good idea during winter weather.”

  • For economy, set the thermostat for 68 degrees, then leave it alone. Each degree above that adds to your cost. Setting it higher won’t heat your home any faster. A five-degree lower setting will conserve energy when you plan to be away for the day.
  • Keep filter clean. Check them at least once a month. If it’s a permanent-type filter, clean it according to the manufacturer’s directions. A disposable one should be checked each month and replaced when needed. Dirty filters cause the equipment to work harder and use more electricity.
  • Insulation is very important and can pay for itself by lowering your heating costs by as much as 20 percent. Use insulation with a high “R” value. SWEPCO energy experts suggest R-30 to R-38 for ceilings, R-18 for outside walls and R-19 for use under raised floors. Insulation recommendations will vary depending on your location in the company’s service area. Call SWEPCO at 1-888-216-3523 for more details.
  • The entire heating system should be inspected and serviced each year to operate at maximum efficiency.
  • Weatherstrip doors and windows to prevent expensive air leaks. Check caulking around windows, doors and other parts of the house. 
  • Air leakage through small cracks and holes in a home’s exterior is a major reason for heat loss in the winter. Make sure all doors and windows are closed when the heating unit is operating.
  • Open curtains or blinds on the sunny side of the house and allow sunshine into the home. Otherwise, keep shades closed to help keep the warm air inside.
  • Inspect the attic. Heat rising through the ceiling into the attic is another major source of heat loss. Check the duct insulation to see that all tears are taped and the insulation is securely wrapped around the ducts. Over time, ducts that are not properly sealed can leak as much as 25 percent of heated air into the attic.
  • When the fireplace is not in use, be sure the damper is tightly closed. Glass fireplace doors are also good for additional savings.
"These suggestions can help the homeowner use energy wisely around the house during the winter,” adds McCloud. “Additionally, SWEPCO customers are encouraged to have blankets, flashlights, portable radios and TVs, and a supply of fresh batteries on hand if the power should go off due to inclement winter weather. Customers can report power outages to the company 24 hours a day at 1-888-218-3919. SWEPCO will call out crews to identify and repair the problem as quickly and safely as possible.”

Scott McCloud
Communications Consultant