Thursday, August 22, 2013

Six Tips To Save Energy In The Winter

     As summer is winding down and we enter the milder days of autumn, we start moving back inside our homes. We have been busy with all kinds of outside summer activities, so it is important to make sure our homes are ready for winter. Whether we have harsh or mild winters, the last thing we want to do is squander energy and money because our house is not prepared. Living here in the Boise, Idaho valley, we experience some really cold weather, and along with that, comes bone-chilling heating bills. So, here are six tips that can help you save energy.

        UPGRADE OR TUNE-UP YOUR FURNACE: 30% of a average home's energy cost is for heating, and sometimes a lot more if you heat with electricity, oil, or propane. A furnace tune-up is a good place to start. If your furnace is 15-20 years old, it would be wise to invest in a new, energy star, rated 95% efficient furnace. If your are total electric, and have a central electric furnace, (air handler), then invest in a high efficient heat pump.
      GET AN ENERGY AUDIT: A new heating system may not be your only answer. Heat can escape from your home in hundreds of ways, so it is worth investigating how your home fairs when it comes to energy or heat loss. Energy audits are designed to look at every possible area of heat loss and with this information you can use to repair and stop heat loss. Many repairs are very inexpensive and a easy DIY project. Contact your local utility company to see if they offer energy audits or assessment's.
      CLOSE WINDOWS TIGHT: Making sure our windows are buttoned-up is another good way to eliminate heat loss. Use insulated blinds, and draperies to keep cold  from radiating in, and heat being lossed from windows. Make sure seals around the windows are in good condition and working. Don't neglect caulking around the inside and outside of windows if possible. Caulk is one of the cheapest, yet, best ways to keep the cold outside!

      PURCHASE A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT: Even if your furnace is a 15 year old, 80% efficient furnace, you can still save energy and money by installing a programmable thermostat. At your home improvement stores, these are still relatively inexpensive and easy to operate.
      STOP AIR LEAKAGE: Air infiltration is a main reason for many rooms to feel cold. One area we forget to care for is all those little electrical receptacle boxes where we plug in our appliances, and turn on our lights. You can purchase inexpensive gaskets for all of your receptacles and significantly reduce the cold air entering your home. Around your doors, make sure gaskets and seals are tight. Check to see how easy it is to slide a piece of paper or a blank check between your door and the seal. You will be surprised how loose some doors are.
      CHECK OUT WEBSITES FOR OTHER ENERGY RESOURCES: By going to your utilities website and 'energy star' websites you can find valuable information on a whole host of issues from energy saving ideas to rebates and incentives that you can take advantage of to reduce your winter energy costs.
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1 comment:

  1. I like your tip about using insulated blinds and drapes to keep the cold from getting in and losing the heat from your home. Having a licensed, experienced, and reputable HVAC professional to inspect and tune up your heater might also be a great way to prevent issues when you get into the cold months of winter. My husband and I just moved into a new home. We're not sure what shape our heater and AC unit are in. It might be time for someone to come out and take a look.