In northeastern Youngstown, old man winter is on the way. Here are ten things you can do today to keep the burrrrrr at bay and keep energy costs low.
- Find and Seal Leaks. Sealing cracks, gaps, leaks and adding insulation can save up to 20% on home heating and cooling costs. Test for air leaks by holding a lit incense stick next to windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing or weather stripping.
- Close drapes, blinds and shades to help retain heat at night or during unoccupied periods. Keep them open during the day to let light in, particularly for south-facing windows.
- Reverse your ceiling fan motor so that the blades push air up toward the ceiling, where hot air normally rises. The fan will drive the warm air back down around the edges of the room, which can result in more even heating. Better heat circulation will help combat the problem of sweating windows that some homes experience in the wintertime because of condensation on the glass.
- Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs.
- Rearrange your rooms. Move your furniture around so you are sitting near interior walls – exterior walls and older windows are likely to be drafty. Don’t sit in the draft.
Don’t send energy up the chimney. Traditional fireplaces are an energy loser – it’s best not to use them because they pull heated air out of the house and up the chimney. When not in use, make sure the damper is closed. Before closing the damper, make sure that you don’t have any smoldering embers. If you decide not to use a fireplace, then block off the chimney with a piece of rigid insulation from the hardware store that fits snugly into the space (dampers don’t shut fully without some leaking).