Your energy savings questions, answered

We asked you to send us your questions about saving energy and money in your home. 

Thanks for your entries! We’ve narrowed down the most commonly asked questions below.

What temperature do you recommend to help me save money while keeping my home comfortable?

Spire answer: We recommend setting your thermostat at an energy-efficient 68 degrees in the winter. This temperature allows you to lessen heat loss through the walls and windows, while keeping you nice and comfortable.  

If you’re looking for help knowing where to set your thermostat during the summer, reach out to your local electric provider for their expert recommendation.  

What would be a better change to save energy: Adding more attic insulation or updating older windows?

Spire answer: When it comes to making your home more efficient, new windows often come to mind first. It’s true that new windows can make your home more comfortable and lead to cost savings. Adding insulation to your home is more cost-effective than new windows and leads to greater energy savings.  

Most warmth escapes from your home from the walls and not through windows—so adding insulation gives you larger savings each month with lower upfront costs.  

You partnered with my electric provider on a customer cost savings program that is new and beneficial. Does Spire have any other programs for customers to help with efficiency and cost savings?

Spire answer: Spire offers rebates and financing across our service areas to help with the upfront costs of upgrading appliances. Not only will you save each month on your utility bills from having more efficient equipment, but you can also get several hundred dollars back on the cost of installing the equipment. Check out our rebates and offers to learn more.  

For customers on a fixed or limited income, we also have assistance programs to help get low or no-cost repairs to appliances. Learn more > 

Since our area has frequent power outages, I'm considering getting a natural gas generator. Is it safe to place a generator in the open outside my home?  

Spire answer: Natural gas generators are an excellent way to prevent the headaches that come with power outages, like food spoilage. Plus, they can be essential for those with certain medical needs. The only safe place for any type of generator is outside your home. Placing your generator indoors can lead to big problems like carbon monoxide poisoning, so protect what matters most by placing your generator a safe distance from your home. Learn more about natural gas generators > 

How can I best keep drafts away from my fireplace opening?

Spire answer: First, one of the best things you can do is schedule annual maintenance to have your chimney and fireplace inspected. The inspector completing the work will be able to give you personalized advice on the best way to prevent drafts. However, you can also follow a few general tips to avoid drafts:

  • Close your damper when your natural gas fireplace is not in use (just remember to open it again before turning it on)
  • Install glass doors in front of your fireplace that you can close when the fireplace isn’t in use
  • Seal gaps and cracks around your fireplace with a high-temperature sealant or caulk

How can I save money with my gas fireplace?

Spire answer: Running your natural gas fireplace is remarkably affordable—just be sure not to leave it running all the time. Just like any home heating appliance, the longer you keep your fireplace on, the more energy it uses, meaning the more money it costs. 

You can purchase an affordable timer or thermostat to make sure your fireplace shuts off automatically or at a certain temperature. Bonus tip: If you have an older gas insert or model, consider upgrading to an efficient version when it’s time to replace. 

How often do you have to clean metal furnace filters?

Spire answer: As with all furnace filters, we recommend checking your metal furnace filter at least once a month, especially during heavy-use periods, such as winter or summer when the HVAC system is working more frequently.

If the filter appears visibly dirty or clogged, it's time to clean it. Dust, debris and other particles can gather on the filter, reducing its efficiency and restricting airflow.

Homes in areas with high dust, pollen or pet dander may need more frequent cleaning. Similarly, if you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, the filter might require more regular attention.

Always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for guidelines on how to clean your specific metal filter. Some filters are washable and can be cleaned with water, while others may require vacuuming or brushing.

If I register my smart thermostat, does Spire monitor or take control of it? 

Spire answer: We do not monitor or control smart thermostats. Your usage is available to you monthly in My Account, but Spire does not analyze or control smart thermostats.  

Is it best to set the thermostat at a consistent temperature all day/night, or should I adjust it throughout the day as needed?

Spire answer: This depends on your personal preferences, but we recommend setting your thermostat to an energy-efficient 68 degrees during the day or while you’re at home and lowering it a bit further while you’re away, at night or when you have a large gathering at your home. This will help you save energy and money when it’s colder outside and will prevent you from heating an empty home.

Not everyone can afford to weatherize their home, so my family used to put plastic over the windows and blankets up on the doors. Are these still good practices for saving energy?

Spire answer: Yes. We share ideas on how to DIY energy-saving strategies on our tips page. One of our tried-and-true favorite ways to keep your home more comfortable during the winter is putting a “snake” by the door to prevent drafts, but spending a little bit of money sealing your doors and windows with caulk and weather stripping can also prevent cold air from getting in. 

If you’re looking for more permanent ways to save, check out financing for insulation so you can install insulation professionally and pay for the cost over time on your Spire bill.