Have Yourself an Energy Efficiency Christmas

Even though we’re not in Buffalo or Mammoth Lakes, the Valley still gets chilly in winter and we use extra energy to keep our homes comfortable.

The good news is that there are some things you can do keep your home heated and your energy bills low during this time of year. Make your home cozy this winter with some of these tips:

 1.      Eliminate drafts. Cold drafts coming in from cracks around your windows and doors means that your furnace has to work harder to keep your home heated to your satisfaction. This extra work by your furnace can cost up to $200 a year in extra energy costs. So, seal up those holes with spray foam or caulk. Or, for door drafts, get the family working on a fun art project!

2.      Keep your thermostat low. Every time you lower your thermostat by a degree, you save about 2% of your energy use and cost. For example, if you normally keep your home at 73 degrees, but can get your thermostat down to 68, you’ll start saving 10% on your heating bill! Can’t imagine feeling cold in your home? Well that brings me to the next tip…

3.      Wear layers. Heat yourself, not the entire space. It is much more efficient to pile on the sweaters and blankets and make a nice hot cup of tea or cocoa than to crank up the thermostat.

1.      Change your filters. This one is easy to fix, but also easily forgettable. Filters quickly become dirty from dust and other particles in the air, restricting airflow. When airflow is restricted, your furnace needs to work extra hard to get hot air into the spaces it’s supposed to be heating, increasing your energy use and cost. Make a note on your calendar to replace filters once a month, or get a washable filter that you can clean monthly. This will create a cleaner indoor air quality and decrease the energy demand of your furnace.

2.      Turn down your hot water heater. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 degrees. Most homes don’t require any more than this and you can see reductions of up to 10% in your water heating costs. PG&E can help your correctly reset this setting here!

3.      Reverse your fans. If your home has ceiling fans, reverse them so that the warm air that has risen to the ceiling is pulled down into the living spaces.

4.      Insulate your windows. You can do this in a few different ways. Heavy duty curtains and storm windows will very effectively minimize drafts and cold air flow, but these can get expensive. Most hardware and discount stores carry window insulation kits, which is a plastic film that covers the window. Don’t worry, these films won’t block your views! They’ll just keep any blasts of cold air at bay.

 How will you be winterizing your home this holiday season?