Temperatures are dropping across southeast Mississippi this week. The Meridian area is expected to see below freezing mornings over the next few days.

Mississippi Power offers the following tips for customers to save on energy and keep their bills as low as possible:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 190,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. With nearly 160 megawatts of approved solar energy capacity, Mississippi Power is the largest partner in providing renewable energy in the state of Mississippi. Visit our websites at mississippipower.com and mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube.