Cut Energy Costs & Stay Warm this Winter
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Winter Fuels Outlook, we’re in for a winter that is 17% colder than last year and heating fuel prices that are more than 20% higher than last year. And while these are just estimates, Vermonters should be prepared for a long heating season and a possible bump in energy costs. To help keep homes warm and energy bills down, Efficiency Vermont offers these 10 tips for the cold weather months ahead.
- Keep your heating system in shape. Oil-fired systems need annual maintenance. Gas systems and heat pumps typically need a checkup every two years. And a new filter will go a long way toward maintaining the efficiency of your furnace and decreasing your heat bills.
- Take control of the thermostat. Lower the heat as everybody leaves for the day and before going to bed. It costs less to heat up a house as needed than to keep it constantly warm. Programmable and learning thermostats can turn the heat down for you and have the house warm for you according to your schedule.
- Let the heat reach you. Dust or vacuum radiators, baseboard heaters, air return vents, and heat duct openings regularly and make sure that furniture, carpets, and drapes aren’t between you and the flow of heat.
- Drafty windows? Before you consider buying new, energy-efficient windows, it makes financial sense to see that you’re getting the most out of the windows you already have. Replace cracked panes and any cracked or missing glazing, run a bead of caulk around window frames, lock windows firmly in place, and use Low-E storm windows that are easy to install yourself. For drafty doors, use weather stripping and door sweeps.
- Shut dampers when you’re not using the fireplace. An open fireplace damper pulls warm air from the house, even when there is no fire. Shut dampers after ashes have gone cold.
- Keep cold out and warmth in. An insulated, air-sealed house stays warmer and costs less to heat. A Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® contractor can do a whole-house assessment and make improvements, now or over time, within your budget. Rebates and financing are available, learn more.
- Stop paying for escaping heat: Seal the seams and joints of your furnace ducts to stop costly heat leaks. Insulate ducts that go through unheated spaces like attics or garages. A Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor can get this work done.
- Light up those dark winter nights for less. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and use up to 90% less energy for lighting.
- Look for the blue ENERGY STAR label. If you’re planning to buy a new heating system, appliances, home electronics, or light bulbs, look for the ENERGY STAR label to find the most energy-efficient, top-quality models on the market.
- Participate in the Button Up Day of Action. On November 12, thousands of Vermonters will participate in Button Up Day events and activities across the state to take energy saving actions to get ready for winter. Visit www.buttonupvermont.org for informational videos, a customizable energy-saving action checklist, and a full list of events and activities.
Have questions? Contact Efficiency Vermont’s Customer Support team with any questions about your energy use and to get practical tips to help you take control of your energy bills. Call 888-921-5990 toll-free, or send an email to [email protected].
About Efficiency Vermont
As the nation’s first Energy Efficiency Utility, Efficiency Vermont has helped Vermont avoid over 13.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence award for the last seven consecutive years. Efficiency Vermont works with partners to help our state transition to more affordable, low carbon energy use through education, incentives, and support for our clean energy workforce. Learn more at www.efficiencyvermont.com.
About Button Up Vermont
Button Up Vermont is a collaborative effort to cut energy use and keep families warm and healthy throughout the winter. Button Up Vermont is sponsored by Brighter Vermont, Burlington Electric Department, Capstone Community Action, Efficiency Vermont, Green Mountain Power, Vermont Energy & Climate Action Network, and Vermont Energy Education Program. For more information visit www.buttonupvermont.org.
Efficiency Vermont Press Contact
Phone: (802) 540-7860