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Published On: Fri, Jan 2nd, 2015

5 Upgrades to Save Energy During Cooler Temperatures

As the mercury dips lower and lower, you probably notice that you start reaching for extra blankets, warm sweaters and hot drinks. You might also find yourself grimacing at your power bill. This year, you can keep those costs low by making a few upgrades that will reduce your power usage.

  1. Your Kitchen

Colder weather might bring you insideto cook warm meals. In turn, this often means firing up the stove and the dishwasher more frequently. If your appliances are five years or older, you are likely using more power than necessary. Discount appliance stores like DirectBuy offer top brand energy-efficient appliances, which may cost you more upfront but will save you money in the long run. If you are not sure how well your devices are operating, you can ask a professional for help. There are energy technicians who can run efficiency tests so you have an idea on whether or

photo by photoSteve101 via Flickr

photo by photoSteve101 via Flickr

not an upgrade is necessary.

  1. Your HVAC

When is the last time you had your HVAC inspected? Reliable heating and cooling companies offer inspections that will not only look for any problem areas but also let you know if your unit is working efficiently. Upgrading your system to an energy-efficient model will have a significant impact not only on this winter’s bills, but also on the price tags that come with cooling your home over the hot summer. Keeping your unit maintained will also help you lower your costs.

  1. Your Thermostat

More affordable than a total HVAC overhaul is a programmable thermostat. These devices will automatically alert your system to start or stop heating your home. You can set the temperature to be comfortable when you are home and up to 15 degrees cooler when you are out of the house, like during the workday. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that programmable thermostats can save you up to 15 percent on heating bills. The innovative Nest Learning Thermostat is way ahead of its time and can save on heating costs by tracking energy use.

  1. Your Exterior

Leaky windows and drafty doors are a major source of heat loss, forcing your HVAC to work harder and use more energy. You can remedy the problem by simply sealing off any leaks through caulking and weather-stripping. You can also install ENERGY STAR qualified windows which can help lower energy bills and saves you money over single-pane and even new double-paned, clear-glass windows. If you have an older home, odds are the investment will pay off.

  1. Your Fireplace

You can easily transform your existing fireplace into an energy-saving unit by using an insert. Conventional fireplaces can cause heat loss through sending warm air right up the chimney. An insert provides you with a draft-proof solution that can still look great. If you are not sold on an insert, you can prevent energy loss by making sure the flue on the chimney is closed and add extra caulking around the hearth.

These upgrades could cost you money upfront, but they will reduce your power bills over the long haul. Energy-efficient appliances and options are also attractive to potential buyers, which is a bonus to you if you ever plan on selling your home. Consult with a professional who can run an energy inspection on your home to let you know where you can save some power and some money.

By: Jimmy Simond

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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