This is one of my "Energy Tip of the Week" articles. If you are an energy pro please add to my free energy measures list below, thanks.

Here are some great FREE ways to make your home more energy efficient and comfortable.

  1. Close your windows. Sound simple but you have to close AND lock a window for it to protect your home from incoming winter air. This applies to storm windows too.
  2. Use window shades to block the sun in the summer and keep out the cold in the winter when it’s cloudy or dark. Let the winter sun shine in though for free solar energy.
  3. Use your setback thermostats. Most homes already have setback thermostats but most homeowners don't bother using them. Don't be afraid, it isn't that hard, spend a few moments to figure our how to program the thermostat, it will save you money.
  4. If you have an air handler with ductwork in the basement, check to see if there are vents or big holes cut into the ductwork to supply warm air to your unfinished basement. If so then shut them off or seal them up.
  5. Clean the air filters in your HVAC system. It is generally better to replace your air filters but most can be cleaned with a vacuum or washed.
  6. Close your chimney flue when not in use.
  7. If you are using an old refrigerator (more than 10 years old) in the basement just get rid of it. Do you really need it? If you do then replace it with a new Energy Star model (I know that's not free).
  8. And of course the cheapest energy is always the energy you don't waste. Remember what your Dad always said "turn off the lights".


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Comment by Bud Poll on November 23, 2011 at 4:47am

Hi Joseph,

Many may wonder just why we might suggest some seemingly silly and simple measures when one can spend a few bucks and save a lot more energy.  The answer in my neck of the woods is, some people have more pride and less money than most and yes they are usually seniors.  As for your list, the first 7 are all common.  Number 8, turning off lights and conserving energy wherever they can is usually an automatic, in fact an obsession.

Totally free is difficult, but add in a few dollars for something to air seal with materials like flashing, caulking, or tape and many can easily save those dollars back in a matter of weeks.

For free measures, add to your list that out dated energy saver switch that is often in those out dated refrigerators.  Yes, they should replace the old frig, but if they are not, at least make sure the heater in the outside skin is turned off.

For windows, the shrink wrap film is very effective, but if that is still beyond someones budget or conservative nature, spritz the window with water and apply a trimmed to fit piece of bubble wrap (before you snap the bubbles).  Most merchants would gladly donate some bubble wrap rather than throw it away.

For the coffee drinkers out there who occasionally have to replace their Mr. mud, on the next replacement shopping trip consider the thermos carafe style now available.  Being metal they break less and being well insulated there is no heater required in the base of the unit to keep the coffee warm.  You save on energy AND you save on that occasional rush home because you left the coffee machine on.

One more, I'll avoid the story, but some seniors qualify for lower electric rates, at least in my state.

Thanks for the list






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