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Weekly Tips | October 21, 2013

Baby It’s Colder Outside!

As a Pacific Northwest chill descends, and the temperatures start to dip, you're likely not the only one thinking "ugh" and grabbing your Uggs! Staying cozy this winter may mean the heat is on, but it doesn't necessarily mean you have to be fleeced - "winterizing" your home can go a long way to seeing energy bills drop alongside the temperature. So take comfort in flannel, grab the hot water bottle, and consider these earth-friendly tips on staying warm while keeping the planet cool!

Seal the Air

Air sealing has the best long-term effect on your home's heating efficiency. EnergyStar has great tips on how to seal leaks and insulate your home for winter. 

Air Leaks: When searching for leaks around windows and doors, use your hand to catch any slight drafts coming in. Once you've identified a leak, use caulk or weather stripping to seal it. 

Insulation: Check out your attic to see if more insulation is needed. EnergyStar recommends that your attic insulation be about 12-15 inches thick. 

For more tips on how to “winterize” your home check out Earth 911.

Seattle residents, sign up for a home energy audit from Community Power Works and you'll learn exactly where your home leaks air the most and what you need to do to fix it. 

Adjust your thermostat

If you plan to spend more than a few hours away from home, or will be tucked warmly into bed, turn down the heat. You can lower the thermostat to 55 degrees without risking the potential to freeze your water pipes. By simply turning down the heat when you don’t need it, you will save you a lot of money on energy bills. Use a pre-programmable thermostat to adjust the heat for you if you have a relatively regular schedule. 

Close rooms and vents 

There is no need to heat an unused room. Simply close vents or turn off radiators in unused rooms and shut the door behind you to save you some money on energy costs. 

Use the Sun 

Taking advantage of the sun when it comes out. During the day, open your blinds and let the natural warmth of the sun heat your home. In the evening, close your blinds and curtains to trap the day's warmth inside. 

Resources: EnergyStar | Care2 | Earth 911 | Community Power Works | this old house

The Big Picture

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than 90% of homes in the U.S. are expected to have higher heating expenditures this winter. More specifically, they project that there will be a 13% rise in comparison to 2012 expenditures. 

Save money this winter by sealing leaks, warming your home using natural sunlight, turning down your thermostat, and closing vents and doors in unused rooms. 

Sources: US Energy Information Administration

heat  winter  energy 


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