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Bill's Bright Ideas: Put Energy Efficiency on Top of Your Holiday Wish List

Put Energy Efficiency on Top of Your Holiday Wish List

Out of sight – out of mind. That’s understandably the motto for many of us juggling work, family and home especially as we head into the fast-paced and increasingly expensive holiday months.

When it comes to energy efficiency, the out-of-sight places in your home may be stealing precious heat and drawing in unwanted cold air. A no-cost home energy assessment can help root-out hidden energy-wasters, while helping you find low-cost or no-cost ways to save energy.

For instance, have you noticed you’re turning the lights on sooner and leaving them on longer now that it’s getting dark earlier? That can add several dollars to your monthly electric bill, especially if you aren’t using energy-efficient lighting.

Here’s one cost-cutting solution – when you sign-up for a home energy assessment, you may qualify for our energy expert to replace your old light bulbs with new energy-efficient ones. Talk about doing a little to save a lot! Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, which really haven’t changed much since Thomas Edison was around, energy-efficient bulbs typically use up to 75 percent less energy.

Today’s energy-efficient bulbs also come in a wide range of styles, colors and light levels. And you can put those light bulbs out-of-mind once you’ve installed them, because they last up to 25 times longer.

You can also start saving energy and money today with these do-it-yourself tips:

  • For every degree you lower your thermostat, you shave about two percent off your heating bill. Set the thermostat at 68 degrees and use a programmable thermostat to automatically turn down the heat when nobody’s home or when you’re sleeping.
  • A programmable thermostat may be provided to you at no-cost during a Mass Save home energy assessment.
  • Remember to let the sunshine in through south-facing windows during the day, and close the drapes, curtains or blinds at sunset to keep the warm air in and the cold air out.
  • To maintain proper airflow be sure furniture, rugs or draperies are not blocking the heating vents.
  • Use a ceiling fan to pull air up and send warmer air down from the ceiling. To do this, the fan should be turning in the opposite direction from when it was used for cooling in the summer.

There are also lots of DIY low-cost ways of sealing your windows and doors with products you can find at the hardware store. For instance, you can use plastic window insulation film; rubber weather sealing; draft snakes (filled fabric tubes placed on a window sill or at the bottom of a door to prevent cold air from creeping in). There’s even a heat-vent extender that helps re-direct air from under furniture.

The holidays will be upon us before we know it. Why not try some of these tips and enjoy the season comfortably this year? Speaking of the holidays, in my next column, I’ll review ways to decorate safely and efficiently.