Winter is fast approaching, a time to think about ways to save energy and money as the temperature drops. One of the simplest energy-saving measures is to inspect doors and windows for air leaks and replace caulking and weather stripping as needed. Other locations where heat commonly escapes are around attic access hatches, ducts, fireplace, basement walls, and shared walls between garage and living spaces.

If you are considering home renovations this fall and winter, energy efficiency upgrades can be built into the plans. An energy audit will clearly show where heat loss is occurring through air leaks or insulation deficiencies. Consider a consultation with an energy advisor before a major renovation to assist you in getting the best value from energy efficient products and home improvements.

There are other opportunities for energy savings that cost little or nothing:

  • Limit the use of electric space heaters.
  • Turn the thermostat down when you are away from home or invest in a programmable thermostat to automatically regulate the temperature.
  • Limit vehicle plug-in time. An automatic timer can be helpful.
  • Unplug unused electronics and chargers. Phones, televisions, games, etc. continue to use electricity when not in use. Each device consumes only a small amount of power but added together these “energy vampires” can total as much as 10% of your electricity usage.
  • Replace furnace filters regularly.
  • If you still have incandescent lightbulbs in your home, it is time to change to halogen bulbs, or better yet to LEDs.
  • Wash lightly soiled clothes in cold or cool water.
  • Run the dishwasher and clothes washer when you have full loads. You will save energy and extend the life of your appliances.

Older appliances typically use more electricity than their newer counterparts. For example, a new energy efficient refrigerator or freezer uses less than half the electricity of a comparable 30-year-old model. Read the EnerGuide information when it is time to replace any appliance and watch for Energy Star certification for the best in energy efficiency.