Savings Tips | My Home | Mississippi Power | A Southern Company

Savings Tips

Find cost-effective ways to use energy more efficiently

savings-tips

Everyone likes to save money. We've compiled a list of simple tips to help you save on energy and keep your bill as low as possible, while also helping protect the environment.


  1. Free energy checkup
    Check out our online Energy Checkup to estimate how you are using energy in your home. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete and the comprehensive report will show you specifically where you can save energy and money.
  2. Set it and forget it
    Set thermostats at 78°F in the summer and 68°F in the winter. Also consider installing a smart or programmable thermostat
  3. Water down bills
    Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F) to save energy and money.
  4. Window to world of savings
    Storm windows or double-paned replacement windows can greatly reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Storm windows are relatively inexpensive, and they also help decrease the outside noise that enters your home.
  5. See the light
    LED bulbs use 86 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs cost a little more, but they also last a lot longer than incandescent bulbs. Homeowners can compare usage and savings with the company's lighting savings calculator. Also, Mississippi Power's Lighting Services team can work with you to design an energy-efficient outdoor lighting plan that matches your style.
  6. Seal appeal
    Check caulk and weather stripping around your windows and doors. If the caulk is cracked or the weather stripping is flat or peeling, replace the old material. Seal other air leakage points around wiring, plumbing attic access and fireplace flues. Use caulk for small holes and expanding foam for larger areas.
  7. Save money when you insulate
    Attic, walls and floors should be properly insulated. Mississippi Power recommends R-30 for the attic, R-19 for floors and R-13 for walls or local building codes, whichever is higher.
  8. Chill your bill
    Refrigerators and freezers should be checked for significant energy loss. Make sure they are as full as possible and that the seals are in good condition. Don't put refrigerators or freezers in unconditioned garages if possible. When buying a new appliance, look for the ENERGY STAR® label.
  9. Clean filters mean lean costs
    Change your HVAC filters once a month. If you have pleated filters, change them every three months.

  1. Save energy in the kitchen
    When you're cooking those holiday meals, take simple actions in the kitchen-like using the right sized pots on stove burners-to save energy and money.
  2. Install a light timer
    When decking your house in holiday lights, use timer controls to lower energy consumption and save money. Timer controls allow you to turn lights on and off at specific times, while staying in the holiday spirit.
  3. Plug holiday decorations into power strips
    Even when you aren't using lights and electronics, they still draw small amounts of energy when plugged in. Use a power strip that allows you to turn the power off easily.
  4. Use LED lights
    Light up your home this holiday season with LED lights. LED lights are sturdier and consume 70% less energy than conventional incandescent light strands.
  5. Use energy-efficient halogen floodlights outside your home
    Halogen floodlights in different holiday colors are a good way to add a festive look outside of your home and use less energy.
  6. Buy ENERGY STAR® electronics
    When shopping for holiday gifts, be sure to ask for ENERGY STAR® home electronics. They use less energy, reducing their impact on the environment.
  7. Take advantage of sunlight
    This winter, open curtains during the day to allow sunlight to naturally warm your home and close them at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.
  8. Prepare your windows for winter
    Before you curl up on the couch this holiday season, weatherize your windows to reduce drafts.
  9. Use a fan to circulate heated air
    You can use a small room fan or ceiling fan to circulate and distribute heated air. Ceiling fans, when reversed, can push the hot air from the ceiling to the occupied areas of the room. Remember to set fans on low speeds during the winter months.
  10. Set your thermostat to 68°
    You can expect a 3% to 4% increase in energy use for every degree higher you set your thermostat in the winter. Install a smart or programmable thermostat, which will automatically adjust your home's temperature settings when you're away or sleeping.

  1. Set thermostats at 78°F in the summer and 68°F in the winter. Also consider installing a smart or programmable thermostat.
  2. Properly insulate attic, walls and floors. We recommend R-30 for the attic, R-19 for floors, and R-13 for walls or local building codes, whichever is higher.
  3. Use storm windows or double-paned replacement windows to greatly reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Storm windows are relatively inexpensive, and they also help decrease the outside noise that enters your home.
  4. Properly seal ductwork. Gaps in joints and at plenums can cause your heating and cooling bills to increase by as much as 30% and can allow air contaminants to enter the home. Sealing with duct mastic is the best way to fix the problem permanently.
  5. Have heating and cooling systems professionally serviced once a year to keep them running as efficiently as possible. If your system is older, consider installing a more efficient system.
  6. Check refrigerators and freezers for significant energy loss. Make sure they are as full as possible and that the seals are in good condition. Don't put refrigerators or freezers in unconditioned garages if possible. When buying a new appliance, look for the "ENERGY STAR®" label.
  7. Switch to ENERGY STAR® qualified light emitting diode bulbs (LEDs). These bulbs last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, and they operate at cooler temperatures.
  8. Change your HVAC filters once a month. If you have pleated filters, change them every three months.
  9. Set your water heater temperature to 120° F to save energy and money.
  10. Check caulk and weather stripping around your windows and doors. If the caulk is cracked or the weather stripping is flat or peeling, replace the old material. Seal other air leakage points around wiring, plumbing, attic access and fireplace flues. Use caulk for small holes and expanding foam for larger areas.

  1. Adjust the temperature
    Setting the thermostat is one of the most controversial issues in a household. Our advice is to set the thermostat for your air conditioner or heat pump at the highest comfortable setting. For most people engaged in daily activities, a setting of 78 degrees will be comfortable. Some people desire a cooler home, but each degree the setting is lowered increases the amount of electricity used.
  2. Change the air filters
    Change your air filters at least once a month. When filters are dirty, air conditioners have to work harder and use more energy to keep your business comfortable.
  3. Maintain your cooling systems
    Have your unit cleaned and checked by a certified Mississippi Power Heating and Cooling Dealer at least once a year for optimum efficiency and performance.
  4. Lower your air conditioning costs
    Do not allow the fan on your central air conditioner to run continuously. It can add uncomfortable moisture to the air and increase your electric bill.
  5. Keep units free of obstacles
    Make sure your indoor air return grilles are not blocked. Do not let trash or weeds block the air flow around the outside unit. Do not close off room air registers or keep doors to interior rooms closed.
  6. Block external light
    Make sure to keep your blinds closed or curtains shut during the day to keep out heat from the sun.
  7. Turn off fans
    Make sure to turn fans off when you are not in that room. Fans don't cool the room, they only cool you by creating a wind chill.

  1. Adjust the temperature
    When you are home and awake, set your thermostat to the lowest possible comfortable setting - we recommend 68 degrees in the winter. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back for eight hours and save around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
  2. Take advantage of heat from the sun
    Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
  3. Find and seal leaks
    Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Add caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
  4. Maintain your heating systems
    Schedule service for your heating system. Find out what maintenance is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently. Replace your heating system's filter once a month or as needed.
  5. Reduce heat loss from the fireplace
    Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.

    When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly — approximately 1 inch — and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting.

    If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.

    If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.

    Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.

    Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.
  6. Lower your water heating costs
    Water heating can account for 14% to 25% of the energy consumed in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands.

Cut your energy costs by more than half with a heat pump water heater

Learn how using heat pump technology with a water heater can be two to three times more efficient and result in big savings on your electric bill.

Fix leaks in pipes and fixtures

You can reduce hot water useage substantially by repairing leaks in fixtures and pipes.

If your water pressure exceeds 40 to 50 pounds, install a pressure-reducing valve

If gauges indicate the water pressure to your home is too high, consider having a plumber install a pressure-reducing valve on the main service. This valve will restrict the amount of hot water that flows from a tap, saving you energy and money.

Install a timer on your water heater

Installing a timer, which can be set to heat water four to five hours a day or less, will result in significant monthly savings.

Insulate your hot tub

When installing a hot tub, insulate it well around the sides and bottom. This will help keep the water hot, reducing the amount of energy it takes to maintain the desired water temperature.

Save up to $35 a month by fixing leaking faucets

Leaky faucets waste water, energy and money. Hot water leaking at a rate of one drip per second can waste up to 1,661 gallons of water over the course of a year, and can add $35* to your power bill due to extra water heating expenses. Fixing drips is a cost-effective and easy way to save electricity and money. To further reduce your water consumption, consider installing low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.

* Source: energystar.gov

Set your water heater temperature to 120° F

Save money and energy by lowering your water heater thermostat. A setting of 120° F is fine for most homes.

Upgrade to an energy-efficient water heater

If your water heater is more than eight years old, chances are it is wasting energy. Today's water heaters are much more efficient, saving you energy and money.

Use solar energy to help heat your pool or hot tub

In some climates, a solar heating system can save you energy and money by supplementing your pool and/or hot tub's electric water heater. Consult a qualified pool maintenance company to find out if solar heating is a good option for you.

Wrap your water heater

If your water heater is electric and in an unconditioned space, insulate the water tank and pipes. This will reduce the amount of heat lost from the water stored in the tank. Read the installation instructions/warranty to make sure this doesn't void the warranty.


Have a home energy audit

Mississippi Power can help you find ways to save money and energy. Take a free online energy checkup or schedule a free in-home energy audit today to learn how you can save up to 30 percent* on your annual bill.

Create an airtight thermal boundary

Your home's thermal boundary — also called its "envelope" or "shell" — consists of its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors and floors. Sealing your home's envelope reduces drafts and helps prevent moisture problems. It can save you up to 10%* on your energy bill and keep you more comfortable during the hottest and coldest months of the year. Air sealing a home with gas appliances can cause safety issues and should be done by a professional.

* Source: energystar.gov

Cut your heating & cooling costs up to 50% with a geothermal heat pump

Highly efficient, environmentally friendly, durable and easy to maintain, a geothermal heat pump can keep your home's temperature constant while cutting your heating and cooling costs up to 50%.

* Source: energy.gov

Have your heating & cooling system serviced annually

Have your heating and cooling systems professionally serviced once a year to keep them running as efficiently as possible. If your system is older, consider installing a more efficient one.

Insulate your attic access

Your attic's access point can be a common cause of energy loss and higher bills. Save energy and money by creating a simple, insulated box that sits over the frame of your attic opening.

Keep your air vents free of obstructions

To maintain even temperatures throughout your home, keep air vents and registers clear of obstructions such as furniture, curtains and rugs.

Lower your thermostat for bigger gatherings

Lower your thermostat when large groups of people are expected during the winter. Because our bodies act as small heaters and humidifiers, a gathering will compensate for the lower setting. In fact, failing to adjust the setting will likely result in a hot, stuffy room.

Make sure your attic is well ventilated

Proper attic ventilation can reduce your energy consumption and increase your comfort during summer's heat and winter's chill. Natural air flow in the attic also keeps the roof decking cool and dry, extending the life of roof shingles. Be sure attic soffit, gable and ridge vents are not blocked so air flows freely through them.

Upgrade to an energy-efficient heat pump

Heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat and cool your home in our climate. If your heating and cooling system is more than 12 years old, consider installing a more efficient system with a higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Replacing an old unit could save you energy and money.

Seal any air gaps in your attic

Your attic's plumbing stacks, vents, ductwork, electrical wires and other structural penetrations often have gaps around them, allowing the conditioned air in your home to escape into the attic. This can cause air drafts and increase your energy bill. Use caulk and spray foam sealant to fill these gaps, cracks and holes.

Seal around wiring and plumbing

Seal around wiring and plumbing penetrations. Use caulk for small holes and expanding foam for larger areas. This will keep unconditioned air from entering the house or conditioned air from escaping.

Seal gaps around flues

Chimney, water heater or furnace flues that penetrate your attic floor, basement floor or crawlspace have gaps around them, allowing the conditioned air in your home to escape into your attic and potentially increasing your energy bill. Make your home more comfortable and energy efficient by sealing these leaks with metal flashing and high-temperature caulk. Sealing gaps around flues should be done by a professional.

Seal your air ducts

Gaps in joints and at connections in your ductwork can cause your heating and cooling bills to increase by as much as 30%*. They can also allow air contaminants to enter the home. Using duct sealant — also called duct mastic — is the best way to fix the problem permanently. Consider having your duct system professionally sealed.

* Source: energy.gov

Seal your exterior doors and windows

Make sure the caulk and weather stripping around your doors and windows are in good shape. If the caulk is cracked or the weather stripping is flat or peeling, replace the old material. Use caulk for small holes and expanding foam for larger areas.

Seal your outlets & switch plates

Keeping conditioned air from leaking out saves you energy and money. Seal your outlets and switch plates with pre-cut foam gasket covers.

Set your thermostat

Set thermostats at 78°F in the summer and 68°F in the winter. Also consider installing a smart programmable thermostat, which will automatically adjust your home's temperature settings when you're away or sleeping — a benefit that can save you up to $100 a year.

Turn on your ceiling fan for summer savings

Although it doesn't actually lower the temperature of the room, a ceiling or area fan in the summer will make the air feel up to six degrees cooler. If you have a ceiling fan with a light fixture, use low wattage LEDs for cooler light bulbs and more energy savings.

* Source: energystar.gov

Unplug your electronics & plug into savings

Also known as standby power, phantom load refers to the electric power consumed by electronic equipment and appliances while they are switched off or in a standby mode. Phantom load can be avoided by unplugging appliances — a simple solution that can save you up to $100* a year.

* Source: www.energy.gov

Up your indoor air quality & your savings with an energy-efficient dehumidifier

If you purchase a dehumidifier for your home, look for one that's earned the ENERGY STAR®. It will use less energy and can save you more than $220* in energy costs over its life. Some common indications that you need a dehumidifier are musty smells, mold and mildew, rotting wood, condensation on windows, and increased allergies.

* Source: energystar.gov

* Source: energystar.gov

Use a fan to circulate heated air

You can use a small room fan or ceiling fan to circulate and distribute heated air. Ceiling fans, when reversed, can push the hot air from the ceiling to the occupied areas of the room. Remember to set fans on low speeds during the winter months.

Use heat-generating appliances when it's coolest

Avoid using appliances that give off heat during the hottest times of the day as they will make your cooling system work that much harder. Cook your meals, wash your dishes and launder your clothes in the morning or in the late evening, when the demand on your cooling system is less.

Use light-colored window shades or drapes

Repel excess heat by using light-colored blinds, shades and draperies on the sunny side (especially the west side) of the house. Make sure draperies are insulated or lined.

Use your window heating or cooling unit wisely

If you're leaving the room that's being heated or cooled by a window- or wall-mounted unit, adjust the temperature or better yet — turn it off.


Why use light emitting diodes (LEDs)?

  • LEDs use up to 86% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
  • LEDs generate 98% less heat than incandescent bulbs.
  • LEDs last at least 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • LED emissions have 88% less carbon dioxide than incandescent bulbs.

It is easy to feel the effects of a drafty door or window, but cold air can seep out of an air-conditioned home (or into a heated home) through several other surprising sources. The average un-weatherized home in the United States leaks air at a rate equivalent to a four-foot-square hole in the wall. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that homeowners can save up to 30 percent on their monthly energy bills just by properly weatherizing their home.

Weatherization is typically the first place for many home owners to concentrate for the biggest benefit with the least effort and expense.

If you're looking for ways to get started weatherizing your home, the list of items below is a good place to start.

weatherization

Fiberglass Insulation

The Department of Energy suggests R30 insulation for the attic, R-19 for floors, and R-15 for walls for the majority of the Mississippi Power service area. As a reference, the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness.

Windows and Doors

Even a well-insulated home can lose efficiency through air leaks, so locating and sealing those leaks can go a long way in reducing energy costs. Make sure all doors and windows are in proper working order. Inspect each door for cracks between the door and the wall. If you see light coming from the other side, the door needs to be weather-stripped. Broken windows are much harder to seal.

Window Insulation Kit

Seals windows airtight, eliminates condensation, cold drafts and heat loss. Install window film over windows that seem to be allowing cold air inside. Window film can be purchased at hardware and home improvement stores for little money. It is clear plastic that is sealed around the window using a hair dryer to shrink the plastic.

Vents

Dryer vents and exhaust fans can whisk conditioned air out of a home and let outside air in. In homes with a kitchen exhaust fan, add a magnetic cover to prevent air from leaking in or out while the fan isn't in use. Bathroom exhaust fans should have an internal flapper damper to prevent air from coming in or out when the fan is off. Dryer vents typically have a flapper to reduce air leaks, but if the vent becomes clogged with lint, it can prevent the flapper from working properly. Check vents periodically to make sure they're free of lint, or install a dryer vent seal.

Outlet Gaskets

Place caulk or foam between the electrical box and drywall on switches and outlets located on exterior walls. The Department of Energy recommends installing foam gaskets behind outlet covers and switch plates for a good, airtight seal.

weatherization2

Attic

If you have an attic access located within your home, make sure the access door is insulated and seals tight, much like a refrigerator. Use weather-stripping and screen door latches for a snug seal.

Fireplace

When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue closed to prevent air from escaping.

The Extras

Add-ons like recessed lighting, mail slots and wall air-conditioning units may add convenience and comfort to a home, but they also add the potential for air leaks. Caulk any gaps around mail slots, and seal around leaky light fixtures. If the insulation above a recessed light seems dirty, it's probably allowing air to escape. Remove window AC units before winter.

Child Safety Caps

Promote energy conservation and child safety by keeping drafts and your child's favorite toys away from unused electrical outlets.

Low - Flow Shower Head and Sink Aerator

A family of four each showering five minutes a day can use about 700 gallons of water per week. Water conserving showerheads and faucet aerators can cut hot water use in half, saving that family 14,000 gallons of water a year.

Toilet Tank Displacement Device

Control the amount of water used to flush your toilet, saving hundreds of gallons of water per year.

Pipe Insulation

Insulated pipes keep the hot water that exists in the pipes warmer, meaning you won't have to wait as long for hot water - reducing waste.

Water Heater Jacket Cover

A water heater jacket can reduce up to 15% of the costs of heating water by preventing energy loss.

Silicone Caulk

Silicone caulk helps fill cracks and gaps where air can enter or escape the home.


  1. Service your air conditioner.
    Check and replace your air filters regularly and arrange for annual maintenance with a qualified technician.
  2. Be smart at the thermostat.
    On warm days, setting your smart or programmable thermostat to a higher setting when you're not at home can help reduce your energy usage and costs.
  3. Use ceiling fans.
    Cooling your home with ceiling fans will allow you to raise your thermostat a few degrees. This can help lower your power bill without sacrificing comfort.
  4. Caulk air leaks.
    Low-cost caulk to seal cracks and openings in your home keeps cool air from flying out the window.
  5. Cook outside.
    On warmer spring days, keep the heat out of your home using an outdoor grill instead of indoor ovens.