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Energy Savings After Cold Weather Hits

Cold winds and temperatures might have snuck up on you this year before you could take appropriate measures to winterize your home and add some energy savings to the mix. Making small adjustments in the home can lead to energy savings and lower utility bills through the winter months.

Finding a balance between being comfortable and energy savings is key. A good place to start is with your thermostat.

The thermostat setting determines how much you will spend for heating and cooling costs. Consider setting yours down when you don’t need it, perhaps when you are sleeping or gone during the day. Each house is unique, but generally every degree you drop your thermostat might save as much as 3 percent on your heating and cooling costs.

Energy Savings With Your Furnace

Realize energy savings by just changing your filter every thirty daysYour furnace, whether it is gas, propane, heat pump or even geothermal heat pump, should be operating at optimum efficiency. This means filters should be regularly replaced or cleaned.

The more you use the heat, the more important it is to check it, certainly at least every three months if not more often, just to make sure that the filters are clean. If you have not had your furnace serviced in two or three years, it would be worth having a service technician do a standard evaluation to make sure everything is still lubricated, operating properly, venting properly and you are getting the most out of the fuel that is being consumed by the furnace to provide comfort in your home.

If you have any combustion appliances, like a furnace, in your home, you should have a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas that can cause flu-like symptoms or even death.

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Energy Savings Elsewhere: Windows, Doors and Outlets

Leaks to the exterior of the home are one of the largest drains on energy savings. It depends on how many windows your home has, the orientation of those windows, how old they are, how many layers of glass they have and how tight they are.

If it’s too late in the season to be caulking around leaky windows now, one option is to use “temporary caulk”. If the window is not going to be used at all this winter, the temporary caulks don’t bond permanently to the surface but will seal around the window.

You can take a similar approach for maintenance on doors. Temporary caulking can be applied to doors that are not used over the winter, and if it is a sliding glass door that will not be used, shrink-fit film kits are sized to fit doors as well. Weather-stripping doors, making sure the doors close tightly and using temporary door sweeps might also save on home energy costs.

If you have outlets on the inside surface of your outside walls, air gaps in the insulation around the electrical box in the wall might allow cold air in and warm air out.

Put the back of your hand up to an electrical outlet on a windy day, and if you feel cool air coming in, it’s probably worth removing the cover plate, placing a foam insulator on the underside of the plate and then screwing the plate back in place. At the very least, get some of those little plastic child protective plugs and insert them into your outlets. You’d be amazed at how much energy savings you can realize by just plugging cold air leaks at your outlets.

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These are just a few of the many ways you can take advantage of energy savings around your home, even though “Old Man Winter” may have us all firmly in his grip at the moment. Find other energy savings ideas by checking out our other articles on energy savings.

Brown and Reaves Services, Inc. 843-497-9867. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and grab your 20% off coupon on our next service call.

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