Avoid a blizzard of bills this season with these energy efficiency tipsMilwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, September 29, 2014
Fall’s cooler temperatures are on their way, if you haven’t felt them already. And when you feel that first chill, your natural response is to reach for the thermostat. Many people do the same thing, sacrificing energy efficiency in the name of comfort. But you can have both. October is Energy Awareness Month, and to celebrate, here are five ways you can conserve energy in your home now and throughout the cooler months ahead without sacrificing comfort.
* Keep the cold out and the warm in. Air that leaks through your home’s envelope – the outer walls, windows, doors, and other openings – wastes lots of energy and money. In fact, sealing air leaks and adding insulation can provide up to a 20 percent savings on your heating bills. Simple fixes include installing weather stripping on doors and caulking around windows, while bigger jobs might include sealing leaks and adding insulation in your attic.
* Heat your home efficiently. As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. Maintaining your HVAC system can have a big impact on your utility bills this winter – and your comfort. Check your furnace’s air filter once a month, especially during the heavy-use months of winter. If it’s dirty, clean or replace it. At a minimum, clean or replace it every three months. A dirty filter slows air flow, making the system work harder which wastes energy. A clean filter helps prevent dust and dirt build-up in your system, which can lead to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure and replacement. Also consider a yearly professional tune-up of your HVAC system. Lastly, sealing and insulating air ducts can improve your HVAC system’s efficiency by as much as 20 percent.