Be Energy Smart
Value Your Energy this Winter by Saving Energy at Home
By: Andy Farmer
Each year, it seems as though winter comes to Virginia earlier than it did the year before. At the end of last year, several areas in the state received unexpected snow before Thanksgiving. In Richmond and other areas in the South, a heavy winter storm dropped a foot of snow well before the official start of winter on Dec. 21.
To stave off colder temperatures during inclement weather, many people tend to crank up their thermostats to their homes warm. Doing this may make your home more comfortable, but it also increases your energy use and can lead to higher electricity bills.
Not sure how to prepare your home for winter? Follow Virginia Energy Sense’s suggestions and tips listed below to curb unnecessary energy use during the winter:
Winter Energy Saving Tips
Programmable thermostats – You can save energy and keep your costs in check by keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit while you are at home. A smart thermostat learns your behavior and it lets you control your home’s temperature from your smartphone.
Swap in LEDs – If you use traditional incandescent lightbulbs, you may want to reconsider. Switch them out for LEDs that will use up to 75% less energy and last several times longer!
Turn on your fans – Since hot air rises, run your ceiling fans in reverse to circulate it back to floor level.
Don’t block the heat – Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators. Make sure they are not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
Change your filters – Maintain your HVAC system by replacing dirty air filters in your furnace. A clogged filter will cause your system to work harder and expend more energy.
Use the sun – Open curtains and blinds on your west and south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. Close those curtains at night to retain heat.
Insulate your home – By insulating your basement and attic, you’ll prevent heat from escaping and reduce the energy required to maintain a steady temperature throughout the home.
Use power strips – Plug in multiple devices, like your TV and tablet, to a power strip to easily turn off all devices when not in use.
Seal air leaks – Several methods can be used to mitigate leaks throughout your home: Use weather-stripping around doors and windows; Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors and ceilings; Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls; Check for open fireplace dampers and make sure they are properly closed.
Manage your time – Hook up devices to timers and manage how long they should be powered. Doing so will lower your electric energy consumption without you having to lift a finger.
Preparing your home for the cold winter ahead will not only save you energy and money, it will also help Virginia reach its goal of reducing electric energy consumption by 10 percent below 2006 levels by 2022. Visit http://www.virginiaenergysense.org/ for more suggestions on how to weatherize your home during the winter and throughout the rest of the year.
Author: Andy Farmer is the manager of Virginia Energy Sense, the Commonwealth’s statewide energy education program under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission (Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)