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5 ways to save on energy costs this winter

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Seal the leaks and insulate.

Cold drafts got you grabbing another blanket? Whether your home is 10 or 100 years old, it may be losing heat and increasing your winter bills. Seal any penetrations between heated spaces and unheated spaces (for example where light fixtures and ceiling fans are attached to the ceiling and go through to the attic). Use caulk for smaller penetrations and spray foam for larger gaps. Seal areas where plumbing and electrical lines come into the home, and where they come through crawl spaces to the heated spaces above. If your attic has less than 12 inches of insulation, add some. Try to achieve an R value in the range of 49-60. For crawl spaces, try to achieve an R value of at least 19. Call the Holy Cross Energy Advisors at 970.947.5473 to learn about rebates and the local contractors who can help make your home comfortable this winter.

Interested in learning more about air sealing? How air-sealing works

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Install smart or programmable thermostats…and program them!

Do you hate coming home to a cold house? Smart/programmable thermostats are a great way to save energy without sacrificing comfort. Save up to 10% on your annual heating cost by lowering the thermostat 7 degrees for 8 hours a day. Program the thermostats to automatically lower the temperature when you are sleeping or away from home and come home to a warm, cozy house!

Thermostat technology has come a long way, and now there are many types of smart/programmable thermostats to fit your heating and cooling systems and lifestyle. Some can be controlled via your phone, and some can learn your preferences and automatically adjust. View our rebates

Check your heating equipment.

Tune ups for your heating system are as important as tune ups for your vehicle. Regular inspections and maintenance can prevent equipment failure and keep your systems operating efficiently. Many heating and cooling contractors have special pricing for tune ups at this time of year. Replace furnace filters at least every other month during the heating season. It is also important to clean chimneys and wood stove pipes to remove soot build-up. Make sure carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are in good working order.

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Water heater maintenance

  • Taking the polar plunge? That may happen if your water heater stops working this winter and you were hoping for a hot shower. If your water heater is older than 12 years, consider replacing it. Waiting until the water heater stops working means an emergency service call to a plumber which can be very expensive and you end up installing whatever equipment the plumber has in stock. Replacing a water heater before it stops working allows you to shop around and find the water heater that serves your needs best. If you need help deciding on the best water heater to purchase, call our Energy Advisors at 970-947-5473. Holy Cross offers rebates for electric heat pump water heaters which use a fraction of electricity of a traditional electric water heater. The Department of Energy also has a great guide comparing the various types of water heaters
  • Flush your water heater on an annual basis to remove mineral build-up and sediment in the tank. To do this, turn off the water heater for a few hours to let the water cool. Connect a hose to the valve at the bottom of the water heater and run the hose outside or to a drain in your home. Open the valve and flush out any sediment at the bottom of the tank. Remember to close the valve completely before turning the water heater back on.
  • Wrap your water heater with an insulating blanket. Adding insulation to the tank helps prevent heat loss, so you use less fuel to keep the water hot. This can save you $5 – $7/month on your utility bills. You can also wrap your water lines with foam sleeves to help keep the heat in the lines and prevent pipes from freezing.
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Install LED lighting.

Shorter days means lights are on longer, which is another reason your electric bill can increase in the fall and winter months. Now is a great time to switch to LEDs. LEDs use 75%-90% less energy than incandescent or halogen bulbs. Changing just one 60-watt incandescent bulb to 10-watt LED can save $5.50/year on your electric bill (based on 3 hours/day). The newest LED technology provides a huge variety of choices. LEDs come in many shapes and styles, different colors and levels of brightness. They can be used in lamps, recessed fixtures, in specialty lighting, and with dimmer switches (older dimmers may need to be replaced to work with LEDs). They also make several different types of holiday LEDs. Don’t forget to save your receipts for any LEDs you purchase to take advantage of our rebate.

Winter checklist: sign up for complimentary home energy assessment with Holy Cross Energy. Call 970.947.5473 to schedule your assessment today!

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