December is right around the corner.  With our seasons changing that means colder weather is approaching. A typical family may spend $1600 a year on their home’s utility bills. Unfortunately, a large portion of that energy is wasted. The key to getting savings is a whole house energy efficiency plan. To take a whole house approach, view your home as an energy system with separate parts. Here are a few tips that might help save you some money:
*Lower your thermostat. 68 degrees is recommended during the day and lower at night. Think about the possibility of installing an automatic thermostat timer.
* Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows that leak air. Repair all cracks or holes in roof, walls, windows, doors…anywhere that heat can escape.
*Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed. Before you use your furnace for the first time in the cold weather have it serviced to ensure it is working efficiently.
*During the heating season, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.
*Keep windows on the south side of your house clean to maximize solar heat gain
*Storm windows should have weather-stripping at all movable joints. Repair and weatherize your storm windows, if necessary.
*Look for dirty spots in your attic insulation. They often indicate holes where air leaks into and out of your house. You can seal the holes by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes and caulking the edges of the plastic. Or, use a can of spray insulation foam to fill and seal the gaps.
*When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue damper tightly closed. A chimney is designed specifically for warm smoke to escape, so until you close it, warm air escapes.
*Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
*Make sure that air vents are clear of objects that might slow down the air flow such as furniture, carpets or drapes. Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed.
*Close an unoccupied room that is isolated from the rest of the house. *Deflect cold winter winds by planting evergreen trees and shrubs on the north and west sides of your house.
*Teach children to be energy efficient. My mom used to tell us “close the door we don’t live in a barn”, now I find myself saying the same thing to my kids to help reduce energy costs.

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