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Winter proof home: Energy saving tips for the winter

Today I sit awaiting the arrival of yet another severe winter storm. Many of us here in Atlanta have stayed home and hunkered down today as this storm could be one of the worst ones yet. This situation has inspired me to share some energy saving tips for the winter.  Some of these recommendations can also be found in my ‘energy savings tips for summer’ article but lets concentrate on how to reduce those utility bills when the temperature drops.

  • Set thermostat to 68° in the winter.  Also, consider an energy efficient programmable thermostat to automatically reduce energy usage when you are away.
  • Seal air ducts, windows, exterior doors and other areas in your home that might leak air. Use caulk and weatherstripping for small openings and cracks and expanding foam in larger areas.
  • Choke your chimney. A tightly closed damper immediately stops 8% or more of furnace heat from going up the chimney.
  • Replace air filters once a month and every 3 months if you have pleated filters.
  • Install storm windows or double-paned replacement windows.  These windows also decrease the noise that enters your home!
  • Have your furnace professionally inspected, tuned-up, and the duct work sealed to have it running as efficiently as possible. Still seems cold? Is your furnace 15 years or older? It may be time to just get a new furnace.
  • Look for energy saving labels when purchasing new appliances. Any energy efficient electric water heater will save up to 20% in water heating bills.
  • Insulate your attic, floors, and stairs.  Check with your local building codes to see which insulation is right for your situation. Insulation is a 30% savings that will last the next 3-5 years.
  • Consider installing a pellet stove. The initial cost is pricey at about $2000 and around $60 a bag for pellets but can save you 50% or more in heating bills.
  • Keep air vents clear of obstructions such as furniture or curtains.
  • Clean dust from the intake.
  • On sunny days, open the curtains and let the sun shine in to naturally warm your house.

Hope these tips will help to keep you warm and comfortable while still saving money and energy! Keep safe everyone.

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