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Virginia energy usage up one-third during cold snap

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Dominion Virginia Power is advising customers on ways to save after an unusually cold winter is increasing heating bills by as much as 33 percent.

“Outdoor temperatures drives home energy usage more than any other single factor,” Alison Kaufmann, an energy conservation specialist at Dominion Virginia Power, said in a statement.

The cold weather has increased the energy needed to heat a single-family home. Based on National Weather Service data, Dominion estimates that the average increase in heating energy has been 15 percent in Northern Virginia, 31 percent in Richmond and 33 percent in Hampton Roads.

To reduce energy usage: Kaufmann recommends these tips:

  • Set thermostat to lowest temperature that keeps your comfortable. The U.S. Department of Energy and Dominion recommends 68 degrees. If you use a heat pump, leave it on a constant setting for the most efficient energy usage.
  • Keep water heater set at 120 degrees. Use an insulation wrap if your heater is located in an unheated area and keep it near pipes.
  • Seal areas where you can feel cold air coming into the house, such as around doors, windows and electrical outlets.
  • Close flue to fireplace when not in use.

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