October is Energy Awareness Month, and here are some fall and winter energy savings tips from energy.gov.
1. Take advantage of the heat from the sun and open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. Close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
2. Cover drafty windows with a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration. Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
3. When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills.
4. Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
5. Find out what maintenance is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently. Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed.
6. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter. It allows warm air to go right up the chimney. If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue. Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible. Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.
7. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You’ll not only save energy, you’ll avoid scalding your hands.
8. Use light-emitting diode — or “LED” — holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays.
For even more information on energy savings, living a more green life, and/or building a green house, visit the Home Neighborhood at the Library. Here are some titles you might want to check out: