Avoid winter woes with a little preparation

Crisp air and colorful leaves. Family holidays. Hot cocoa. Snow days. There are plenty of reasons to get excited about fall and winter, but the return of high heating bills doesn’t make that list. There are several things you can do to make your home cozier and more efficient that don’t require any specialized equipment or DIY skill.

Winter Home Energy Tips

  1. Prepare your heating system. Ideally, have your system professionally serviced twice a year and change filters as needed. Sweep and clear debris from your outside unit.
  2. Check the thermostat. Consider a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one, and keep in mind that you can save 2% or more on your heating bill for each degree you lower the thermostat in the winter. Set your thermostat at the lowest comfortable temperature for you — usually around 68° to 70° for most people. You can also set the temperature back 5° to 8° when asleep or not at home.
  3. For fireplaces you don’t intend to use this season, make sure the flue is closed. To cut down on drafts even more, consider a fireplace plug.
  4. If you have an AC system independent of a furnace or boiler, make sure you close the vents and block off any return ducts so warm, conditioned air does not rise up into the system.
  5. Remove any window AC units if possible. If you can’t, get a pleated, insulated cover that fits snugly to the inside.
  6. Curtains that reach to the window sill or floor, are hung close to the window and cover the entire window will cut down on drafts and increase comfort. When drawn during cold weather, most conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 10%. Thermal or insulated curtains can reduce heat loss even more. In winter, close all draperies at night, but open them during the day if the window receives direct sunlight to take advantage of the heat gain from the sun. Additionally, make sure any drapes or curtains (and furniture, too) are not blocking air registers to allow for free circulation of heated air from your HVAC system.
  7. Set ceiling fans to spin clockwise and on low speed to pull cool air upward. The updraft pushes naturally rising warm air from the ceiling down along walls and back to the floor.
  8. Schedule a professional home energy assessment with LEAP.

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