Winter Tips

Keep Warm This Winter

Adding a sweater and keeping your thermostat set a couple degrees cooler are smart ways to save some energy. But there are many ways to save energy that will conserve energy resources and save you money.

Install a programmable thermostat. Being able to turn down the heat for large chunks of time, such as at night or while at work, can make a difference in your overall energy consumption. Consider turning off the heat to rooms that are not heavily used.

Perform regular maintenance. If you have a forced air furnace, make sure to clean or change the furnace filter about once a month. Most furnaces will need to be professionally cleaned and tuned once a year.

Insulate your home. The best way to quickly save energy is by installing good insulation. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends an R-49 rating for attics. Visit www.energy.gov to learn more about these ratings.

Plug leaks and holes. In addition to insulating your attic and walls, another easy energy saving step is to add caulking and weather stripping. Feel for cool air around windows, electrical receptacles and pipe and wire entry points.

Cold Facts About Fireplaces

A blazing fire on a cold winter day looks and feels wonderful, but it can be an expensive and inefficient endeavor. A fireplace sends most of the heat in your house straight up the chimney and can exhaust as much as 24,000 cubic feet of air per hour to the outside!

Here are some tips to limit the loss of heat when enjoying a quiet evening by the fire.

  • Reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly—only about an inch—and close doors leading into the room.

  • Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.

  • Check the seal on the flue damper and make it as snug as possible.

  • Use grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.

  • When you aren't using your fireplace, keep its damper closed!

  • Consider a gas fireplace. If you are planning to install a new fireplace, gas fireplaces provide the enjoyment of looking at flames but can be 70% more efficient than regular fireplaces.