Winter energy efficiency tips are not only related to your home’s heating system, they have more to do with your home itself.
October, which is National Energy Awareness Month, is a great time to prepare your home for the cold winds of winter. OPPD has a library of videos to help with projects to increase your energy efficiency. The utility offers additional information on its energy efficiency page on its website.
The video below, featuring OPPD Energy Advisor Eric BenSalah shows how addressing leaks and poor insulation can significantly lower your heating costs. The following strategies can save energy and money while still keeping you comfortable as the cold winds blow outside. Most of the tips are free or inexpensive, requiring only a little time.
Take advantage of heat from the winter sun
Leave curtains, blinds and/or shades open in direct sunlight to warm the room. Close them at night to prevent heat loss through the windows.
Cover drafty windows
Seal any leaky windows or doors with foal or felt weatherstripping. Using a thermal gun is a more expensive option, or you can use an anemometer but a more budget-friendly solution. You can also simply feel around the frames to determine if and where there are leaks.
Tight-fitting, insulated drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty are a useful layer once you weatherize.
Adjust the temperature
When you are at home and awake, set the thermostat as low as comfortable.
When asleep or out of the house in winter, lower the thermostat temperature between one and four degrees. Each degree of adjustment can save you 1 to 5% in energy use.
It is recommended that your furnace have an inspection by a licensed HVAC company. Any cracks in your heat exchanger can release harmful gases when the heat is running.
Check or replace your furnace filter at least once per month.
Reduce heat lost from fireplaces
When not in use, be sure to close the damper on your fireplace. Keeping the damper open can be like an open window during winter. Warm air goes up the chimney.
Have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional on a regular basis.
Laura King-Homan is the managing editor of The Wire and a brand journalism strategist at Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, including the Omaha World-Herald.