As we brace for even colder weather here on the First Coast, Florida Power and Light and JEA are both releasing tips on how to stay warm, while also saving energy and money.
FPL spokesperson Chris McGrath says the most important thing you can do, is set your thermostat to 68°F and your fan to auto.
"Every degree below 68 degrees, actually saves you 5% on your heating costs," explains McGrath, who also warns that heating your home can cost 2 to 3 times more than cooling it.
JEA spokesperson Gerri Boyce also advises against upping your thermostat dramatically.
“If you move your thermostat more than a couple of degrees, what will happen is your heat strips will come on, and those are three times more expensive to run,” says Boyce. She recommends only bumping up your thermostat one or two degrees.
Boyce also reminds customers that heat accounts for 40% to 50% of your entire electric use.
"Another really easy thing you can do is something we talk about in the summertime, but it holds true in the winter, is making sure that you replace or clean your air conditioner filter regularly. You usually do that about once a month and it helps your unit operate more efficiently," says McGrath.
FPL also recommends considering using a space heater, but keeping the heater away from any flammable items, like furniture or curtains, and keeping a close eye on your pets and children.
Another way to save, includes changing the temperature on your water heater.
"You can actually keep the water temperature in your home, the water heater, you can set that down to about 115 to 120 degrees. You're still going to get the hot water you want, whether you're doing your dishes or taking a shower, but by setting it lower, you're actually saving money on your energy bill," says McGrath.
On the topic of water, JEA wants to remind customers to take precautions to avoid having your pipes freeze. For pipes that are exposed outside, Boyce reccomends wrapping them with old towels and t-shirts.
“We also recommend that you trickle the water, no more than the diameter of the pencil, but just make sure you have the water flowing. What you spend in any extra water is far less than what you would spend for a plumber to come,” says Boyce. She advises you keep the water trickling as long as we have freezing temperatures.
On the utility side of things, FPL says it currently has an ample supply of energy to fully meet customers expected needs, as the cold moves in. Should that demand increase and exceed their supply, FPL says it does have a comprehensive plan in place to deal with the issue.
JEA shared a similar message. Boyce says they do have the power in place to meet the increased needs of customers. She says JEA also has service center duty crews riding out the storm, with the rest of the crews on stand-by, in case of any issues.