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With snow in forecasts across the state and temperatures plummeting in the coming days, Energy Trust of Oregon has advice on how people can keep their homes warm and comfortable while managing their energy costs.
“Many people don’t realize it, but they could be wasting up to 60 percent of the energy they use to heat their homes due to inefficient equipment, poor insulation and air leaks,” said Katie Wallace, residential spokesperson, Energy Trust.
The heating system is the single biggest energy expense in most homes, and there are many easy, low-cost steps that can help keep that expense under control:
- Use a smart thermostat to manage heating costs. It makes sense to keep your home toasty when everyone is awake, but at night or when no one is home, save on energy costs by lowering the thermostat setting. A smart thermostat can help make these kinds of energy-saving changes automatically. Cash incentives are available for qualifying smart thermostats, including popular products from Nest and ecobee. Energy Trust recommends keeping the thermostat at 65-68 degrees when you’re home and 58-60 degrees at night or when you’re away.
- Check air filters once a month during the coldest months in fall and winter when your heating system is working at its hardest. If the filter looks dirty, change it. A dirty filter will slow airflow and make the heating system work harder and waste energy. Change the filter every three months during spring and summer if you are running your heating system.
- Seal air and duct leaks and add insulation to increase comfort and save on heating costs. “The small gaps, cracks and leaks in a typical home can add up to the same loss of energy and comfort as leaving a window open year-round,” said Wallace. Use caulk or spray foam to seal small holes and cracks, and use weather stripping and door sweeps to seal drafty windows and doors.
Whenever the temperature plunges, these simple steps can help Oregonians save money.
To find more ways to lower your energy use and costs even further, complete a free online Home Energy Review. You can finish your review in less than 10 minutes and get customized recommendations for your home, information on available cash incentives and access to local Energy Trust trade ally contractors who can install your energy-saving projects. To get a Home Energy Review, visit energytrust.org/start.
View Energy Trust’s informational video about cold weather tips, which is available for use with credit to Energy Trust of Oregon.