Avista Offers Tips to Help Customers Prepare for Incoming Cold Snap


In the coming days and weeks, throughout the Inland Northwest, the National Weather Service is predicting frigid temperatures up to 10-20 degrees cooler than normal.  Weather significantly impacts energy use.

Avista has tips and tools to help its customers remain comfortable and prepare.  “In our region, heating is responsible for 40-60% of the energy use you see on your energy bill,” said Meghan Pinch, Energy Efficiency Program Manager at Avista.  “That’s why keeping heat inside is so critical in the winter.  If heat escapes through cracks or windows, your home will use more energy and your heater will run more often than it should to keep your space warm.  The extra energy use is what drives winter bills up.”

Reducing air leaks can cut a customer’s monthly energy use by up to 10%. Air leaks are commonly found around doors and windows, in floors, walls, ceilings and ductwork, and through fireplaces and exhaust fans.  “If you have a quarter inch gap around a door, it’s
the same as having a softball-sized hole in your wall,” said Pinch.  “The good news is, even with colder weather fast approaching, there’s still time to complete easy, last-minute fixes to seal leaks and stop cold air drafts.”

1. Seal air leaks around windows and doors with easy-to-install weatherstripping, removable rope caulk, or permanent tube caulk.

2. Stop cold air drafts that come through windows by installing removable window plastic, which essentially turns a single pane window into a double pane. For a more permanent solution, install insulated curtains or honeycomb shades.

3. Stop heated air from escaping through vents by turning off kitchen, bathroom, and other ventilation fans, when you don’t need them. In just one hour, they can suck all the warm air out of a house.

4. If you’re not using your fireplace, close the chimney flue. If it’s left open, all the heat in your home will be sucked straight up and out of the house.  Wrap your window or wall air conditioner and consider an alternative to an always-open pet
door, too.

“When you’ve sealed your air leaks and stopped cold air drafts, you’ll feel more comfortable and won’t be as tempted to bump your thermostat up,” according to Pinch.  “Avista recommends setting your thermostat at 68 degrees in winter and turning it down
when you go to bed or leave the house.  Lowering it just 3 degrees further and consistently keeping it there can also save up to 10% on your monthly energy use.”  No matter the type of heating system a home uses, it will work harder and more often
when temperatures outside drop below freezing.

If you rely on baseboard, space, or wall heaters, only use them in areas you’re occupying and close doors to the rooms
you’re not in (if freezing pipes are not a concern).  Keeping your indoor humidity level between 30-45% will also help you feel warmer.

Customers can find many energy-saving ideas and quick DIY videos here.

Avista also recommends having an emergency preparedness kit on hand at all times.  In the case of unplanned outages, consider including items like flashlights with fresh batteries, a portable battery-operated radio, a cell phone with battery back-up, water, and nonperishable food.  Customers needing additional support during this time are encouraged to call 211 or visit www.wa211.org or www.211.idaho.gov.

For more information, customers can call Avista’s customer service team at (800) 227-9187.