Written by Chandler Von Schroeder
Who doesn’t want to keep warm in the winter?
You may have heard the words “polar vortex” coming from weather forecasters all over the country, and sure enough, people are now waking up to frost on the grass, ice on the windshield and boilers running full blast. Winter has officially arrived.
Heating homes takes a huge bite out of your energy bill, which is why now is the time to do the simple, easy checks to reduce energy waste, and make sure your home keeps you warm and cozy this winter.
I talked to Green Diva Meg with some ENERGY STAR tips for keeping warm and energy efficient this winter. Some tips GD Meg had never heard about! Listen to this Green Divas at Home podcast segment then read on for more information.
Insulating your attic.
First off, insulating your attic is a great way to reduce energy use, lower utility bills and increase comfort in the winter. So ENERGY STAR has some great tips on how to check your insulation level today, to see if you have enough insulation. Not sure how? Just Rule Your Attic! Here are the basic steps:
1. Grab a tape measure or ruler and a flashlight. (You can also bring your cell phone.)
2. Carefully climb up your attic stairs or ladder and raise the attic hatch or door.
3. Reach out and stick the ruler into the insulation and measure the depth in inches. Jot down the number or take a picture with your cell phone to record the measurement.
Then, check the national map and find out whether you fall below the recommended levels of insulation. If your levels are good, relax and have a cup of hot cider. If you’re below the recommended levels, don’t sweat it. It’s not too late to make an improvement and lower your annual energy bills by up to 10 percent by sealing air leaks and adding insulation to your home.
Check out these ENERGY STAR tips to help you lower your energy bills and increase comfort for this winter:
1. Keep the cold out and the warm in—Seal up leaks with caulking and weather stripping
2. Heat your home efficiently—Maintain your HVAC system by cleaning your air filter and sealing and insulating ducts
3. Program for savings—Use a programmable thermostat
4. Make “bright” choices for lighting—ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs deliver the energy efficiency and performance you expect
5. Save energy while enjoying the football season—Look for the ENERGY STAR label on electronics for the latest features and great energy efficiency
For more information, visit energystar.gov/heating.
Keeping your home warm has a big energy and environmental impact—taking up the biggest portion of your annual utility bill. Energy used in the average home results in 24,100 pounds of CO2 emissions per year, costing you more than $2,000.
So even though the weather outside may be “frightful,” rest assured that you now have everything you need to save energy and money this winter.
Chandler Von Schroeder has been in the energy efficiency industry since 1981, primarily in the Washington DC metro area. For the past 12 years Chandler has worked for EPA promoting energy efficiency best practices in the HVAC, Home Performance and Remodeling industries, was the national manager of the HPwES activities and now leads ENERGY STAR Quality Installation program.
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