News Releases

Tips to Battle the Energy Crisis

Jun 28, 2001

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Charlie Fletcher
Phone: (775) 834-3959

For Immediate Release

Energy-saving tips offset rising price of natural gas (or Take Steps Now to Lower rising Natural Gas Bills) With natural gas costs reaching unprecedented new highs, Sierra Pacific customers can take steps now to reduce natural gas bills this summer and next winter.

A customer's bill for natural gas is determined both by the price paid for the gas itself and by the amount of gas they use. As a result, many customers have the ability to control their bills by reducing gas usage, particularly during cold winter months. To help customers reduce their gas bills and get the most out of their energy dollars, the company offers the following low-cost, or no-cost energy- saving tips:

Tips for this summer

  • Many residents have their hot water heater set too high and end up using more natural gas than needed. The recommended temperature for the hot water heater is between 120 and 130 degrees. Set the temperature controls to the lowest setting when away for extended periods.

  • Conserving hot water usage will also reduce energy dollars. You can accomplish this by:
    • Keeping showers short or installing an energy- efficient, water-saver showerhead.
    • Turning off the water flow while shaving or washing.
    • Making sure the dishwasher is full before using. An automatic dishwasher uses the same amount of hot water for both a small or a full load.
    • Washing clothes in full loads. But if you need to wash a smaller load, set the load selector accordingly.

  • Now is the time to weather-strip doors and caulk the windows to keep next winter's heating costs as low as possible. A quarter-inch crack around the door is equal to having a three-inch hole in the door. By keeping doors and windows tight, the house will be warmer.

  • Routine furnace maintenance is the best way to reduce energy bills during the winter and summer is the time to choose a licensed contractor to prepare your furnace. Sierra Pacific Energy Specialists can refer you to a number of qualified contractors to conduct an annual safety inspection of your natural gas furnace.

Tips for next winter

  • Replacing or changing the furnace filters monthly will reduce the amount of energy dollars spent. The filter helps remove all impurities in the air. When the filter gets dirty, the circulation of air and heat is reduced. Filters are one of the least expensive ways to reduce your energy bills.

  • During the winter, set your thermostat between 66 degrees and 68 degrees, unless directed otherwise by your doctor.

  • Setting the thermostat between 55 degrees and 60 degrees while asleep can save energy dollars. Keeping an extra blanket on the bed will help you stay warm without warming the whole house.

  • If the house will be empty four hours or longer, set the thermostat five to 10 degrees lower when no one is at home.

  • If a room in your house is not occupied, don't heat it more than necessary. This can be done by:
    • Closing the warm-air supply register.
    • Closing the damper in a radiating-heating unit.
    • Using storm windows, keeping the shades down and draperies drawn at night.
    • Closing bedroom doors.
  • Your household can benefit from the heat of the sun. During the day, open blinds and drapes in rooms that get direct sunlight and let the natural sunshine help heat your home. At night, the reverse is true. Closing all blinds and drapes will help keep the heat inside.

  • Close the fireplace flue when not using the fireplace. Heat rises, and the warmth of your home can escape right up the chimney through an open flue, taking lots of energy dollars with it.

  • One way to save energy dollars during the winter is to dress appropriately. Even at home, dressing warm in layered or knitted clothing will ensure that your body heat will not escape.

For more information, contact Sierra Pacific Energy Specialists at 834-4556.

Sierra Pacific is a natural gas distribution company serving more than 110,000 homes and businesses in northern Nevada.

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