December 17, 2008
RICHMOND, Va. – With the arrival of winter's colder temperatures, Dominion Virginia Power is providing customers with 10 online video clips showing ways to help them stay warm, save money and conserve energy.
The video clips are available on Dominion's Web site at: http://www.dom.com/customer/efficiency/res/ten.jsp. Media outlets are encouraged to post the clips or link to the site as a service to readers. Comments can be posted at Dominion's energy conservation blog site: http://e-conserve.blogspot.com.
Heating costs can account for 25 percent to 50 percent of a home’s total energy expense. Efficiency experts offer these tips to control heating costs:
- If you have a forced-air heating system, clean or replace the filter monthly and keep heat vents open and unobstructed by furniture.
- Make sure all ductwork is sealed at joints and intersections with duct sealer or silicone caulk. Otherwise, ductwork can leak heated air into the attic or crawl space, and outside air can be drawn into the return ductwork, increasing costs and reducing comfort dramatically.
- Set the thermostat at 68 degrees or the lowest temperature at which you are comfortable. For every degree you lower the setting, you will experience a savings of up to 3 percent in energy costs. Setting the thermostat lower at night will produce savings in gas and oil systems, but it is not recommended for heat pump systems unless you have a programmable thermostat specifically designed for that system.
- Have a qualified heating contractor inspect and service your system to ensure it is safe and working at peak efficiency.
- If you have a gas or oil furnace, consider adding a high-efficiency heat pump. It could provide significant savings on heating costs and keep you cool next summer.
- Trim or remove grass, weeds, leaves and other obstacles from around the outdoor unit of your heating or cooling system. When airflow is blocked, it places a strain on the system and lowers efficiency.
Air leakage accounts for about 30 percent of heating expenses. Experts agree on these recommendations:
- Use caulk or expanding spray foam to seal around pipes and wires that lead from the attic or crawl space into the home. Install gaskets in outlets and switches on outside walls to prevent air leakage.
- Caulk cracks around window and door moldings, and place weather-stripping around doorframes and at the top and bottom of window sashes.
- Caulk cracks around masonry fireplaces and keep the damper closed when the fireplace is not in use.
- Install weather-stripping and insulate attic doors and pull-downs. Check the attic insulation. If it is sparse or badly settled, consider blowing in more to increase it to a minimum of R-30.
- If you have a crawl space, ensure the vents are closed and you have a sufficient vapor barrier of at least 6-mil polyethylene on the ground. If you do not have insulation in the floor, consider adding R-19 insulation batts.
Additional information on conservation measures and energy calculator tools are available on Dominion’s “Energy Conservation and the Environment” page at: http://www.dom.com/customer/efficiency/energy_conservation_index.jsp. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency sponsor Home Energy Saver, a do-it-yourself energy audit tool, at http://hes.lbl.gov.
Dominion also asks that you contribute to EnergyShare to assist those in need. EnergyShare helps pay home heating bills for qualified individuals in need who live in the company's service area.
EnergyShare pays for any heating source: oil, gas, kerosene, wood or electricity. It is a program of last resort for the elderly, the ill and for all persons who face financial hardships from unemployment or family crisis. Payments go directly to energy vendors on behalf of those helped, and every dollar donated goes to benefit those in need. Dominion pays all administrative costs of the program.
Customers can contribute to EnergyShare by adding an extra $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $25 or $35 monthly to their Dominion Virginia Power bills or by including a separate check for any amount with their payments. All contributions are tax deductible and can be mailed to EnergyShare, P.O. Box 11186, Richmond, VA. 23230-1186.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,000 megawatts of generation. Dominion serves retail energy customers in 12 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at http://www.dom.com.