News Releases

Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation

For Release: 12/04/2008

MERC Offers Tips to Save Heating Costs

Rosemount, MN – With another winter season bearing down, Minnesota Energy Resources, a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group (NYSE: TEG), offers some energy savings and heating cost tips to customers.

For example, using a natural gas stove or dryer can save about three times the energy than using electric appliances. In addition, a natural gas stove offers more accurate cooking temperatures.

Nearly everyone can reduce the amount of natural gas they use by taking a few simple and cost-effective steps:

  • During the winter months, keep your thermostat between 65-70°. When you go to sleep or leave the house, dial your thermostat down.
  • Install a programmable thermostat so that you can have the temperature dialed down automatically at night. You can even use it to warm your place up before you get up in the morning. It will be more comfortable in your home and the savings can be dramatic.
  • Open blinds or drapes to let the sun in on sunny winter days. At night, close them to help insulate your windows from the cold.
  • Don't heat space you don't use. Close the vents and shut the doors of less-used rooms and open them up when needed.
  • Warm air quickly rises out of your comfort zone, which leaves you down in the cold. Direct heating registers so that they're blowing horizontally across the floor instead of straight up. If you have ceiling fans, set them in the summer so that you feel a breeze coming down (usually counterclockwise). In the winter, reverse the fan's direction and operate it at a low speed to bring your warm, heated air down where it is needed.
  • Put lids on pots when cooking on the stove. The contents will heat up faster and you'll use less natural gas.
  • Fifteen percent of what is spent on natural gas probably goes to heating water. Take shorter showers and wait for a full load before you run the washing machine or dishwasher. Set your water heater at "warm" rather than "hot," and use a thermometer to make sure that what comes out of the tap is no more than 120 degrees.
  • You may not need as much hot water as you think. For example, laundry detergents today can often clean clothes in cold water, so you can run your washing machine at lower temperatures.
  • Replacing old appliances can be an excellent way to save money over the long term. When buying a new appliance, look for the EnergyStar® label.

Preventing even the smallest of leaks decreases energy consumption and lowers your bills. A typical home loses a houseful of warm air every hour. Making an effort to prevent heat loss can reduce energy bills by as much as 10 percent. Common areas for leaks are where walls meet floors and ceilings, where plumbing or ductwork enters a wall, around doors and windows and even through electrical outlets. Caulk and weather-stripping are sufficient for sealing most leaks. To stop air from exiting through wall outlets, you can install an insulating material found at most hardware stores. If you have a fireplace or fans and vents that exit to the outside, make sure they're closed and covered for the winter season.

Other weatherproofing tips include:

  • Use weather-stripping around door frames.
  • Caulk and seal around plumbing pipes, window frames and doors.
  • Install foam insulation under outlet covers.
  • Install plastic sheeting over drafty windows.
  • Clean the exhaust fan on your clothes dryer.

For More Information, Contact:

  • Ann Carlon
    Manager – External Affairs
  • Media Hotline