With temperatures tumbling across the country, many consumers are looking for ways to make their home more energy efficient and comfortable this winter. How to get started? Edison Electric Institute, on behalf of its member electric power companies, offers the following 10 easy, low- and no-cost tips to guide you.
- Regularly clean or replace the filter in your heat pump or furnace.
- Lower your thermostat setting a degree or two (save up to 3 percent per degree on heating costs).
- Shut the door and vents in unused rooms.
- Get your heating system inspected and serviced annually.
- For windows facing south and west, keep the curtains open on sunny days and closed at night.
- Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors.
- Reduce energy use when your home is unoccupied (a programmable thermostat can do this for you automatically).
- Make sure the damper on the fireplace has a tight fit to limit warm air leaks up the fireplace chimney. Also, if the fireplace has doors, keep them closed to prevent heat loss.
- Make sure that the attic insulation meets current guidelines as published by the U.S. Department of Energy (www.energysavers.gov). Installing attic insulation may qualify for a federal tax credit if it is installed by December 31, 2010.
- Replace old leaky windows with new, Energy Star rated windows. Windows also may qualify for a federal tax credit of 30% of the purchase costs, up to $1,500, if you install them before December 31, 2010, you may. (For full list of qualifying equipment, check the Energy Star Web site at www.energystar.gov.)
Take charge of your home’s energy use and you can save money. You’ll also be making your home more comfortable. For more information on how to get the most value from your monthly utility bills this winter, please visit www.eei.org/wiseuse. And don’t forget your own electric utility’s Web site. They’ll have more detailed information about wise energy use for you.