Winter chills, bigger bills?

Winter Snow Craftman Cape Cod Style HomeBust out the hot chocolate and extra afghans, because winter weather has arrived. The extreme cold is bad enough, but if your energy use spikes it can really add insult to injury. Try out these tips to help you save energy — and money.

  1. Turn off those ventilation fans. If you have a ventilation fan in your kitchen or bathroom, make sure you’re turning them off when not in use. Otherwise, they’ll pull the warmth from your home.
  2. Put on a sweater. It’s old advice, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good — bundling up means you can keep the temperature down, saving you money in the long run.
  3. Seal those air leaks. Air leaks at the top and bottom of your home mean major losses for your energy efficiency. Contact your energy advisor to help find significant leaks below your floor or up in your attic.
  4. Turn down your water heater. Lowering your setting to 120 F will help you save energy this winter, and you’ll probably never notice the difference.
  5. Let those dishes breathe. Doing dishes? Instead of letting the dishwasher heat them dry, interrupt the cycle and let the dry winter air do it for you for free.
  6. Replace your old air filter. Your air filter clogs up with dust and hair over time. Which is good — that’s why you have it in the first place—but it also means your HVAC system has to work a lot harder to heat your home.
  7. Let in the sun. Open your blinds, pull back the curtains, and let that sunshine in to help warm up your home.
  8. But cover drafty windows — especially at night. Heavy curtains can act as another level of insulation, especially in front of cold or drafty windows. If the sun isn’t shining, cover those windows well.
  9. Unplug those Christmas lights. And any other lights you aren’t using. Leaving them on when no one’s around adds up to a big expense.
  10. Keep an eye on your thermostat. Watch your thermostat settings to make sure you aren’t accidentally using auxiliary or emergency heat (unless you really are experiencing an emergency — in this case, a broken heat pump).
  11. Insulate your water heater. If your water heater isn’t insulated, it’s going to be fighting the cold temperatures to keep your water warm. Insulation can help, but please take extra care to be safe if you’re insulating a gas water heater.
  12. Max out your washing machines. If you want to maximize efficiency and save on energy, never run your dishwasher or washing machine with half a load. Keep them full to keep on saving.
  13. Keep your fridge fully stocked. A refrigerator filled with food doesn’t warm up as quickly when you open the door. Plus, this is a great excuse to keep it stocked with holiday leftovers.
  14. Buy LEDs — even for your holiday lights. Whether for your light fixtures or for your Christmas tree, buying LED bulbs can help you save energy this winter.
  15. Add insulation to your attic. Don’t let that warm air escape! Like pulling on a winter hat, adding insulation to your attic can make a big difference. If you have less than 6 inches of the fluffy stuff in your attic, it’s probably a good idea to add more. Contact your energy advisor for an analysis and recommendation.

Looking for more ways to outsmart Old Man Winter? Contact your co-op’s energy advisor to learn more.

LED lightbulb rebate reminder!

To get the best bang for your buck now is the time to make the switch to energy-friendly LED bulbs! The cost of an LED bulb is going down, and so too will the rebate beginning Jan. 1. But, if you purchase ENERGY STAR®-qualified bulbs prior to Dec. 31, you can get up to $7.50 back per bulb.

The rebate amount cannot exceed your purchase price, but you can get up to 25 bulbs this year. That means not only will you get a decent rebate, you will save money for years to come. In fact, when you switch from incandescent to ENERGY STAR LED lightbulbs, you use at least 70 percent less energy per bulb and you don’t have to mess with them because they last 18-22 years! Now that is a gift that keeps on giving. For more information, go to today.