Ask Eartha: Home Energy Improvements You Can Do Before Winter

Ask Eartha: Home Energy Improvements You Can Do Before Winter

According to the Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% on heating costs each year by turning the thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for about eight hours a day. Some thermostats can even be adjusted remotely, which is great if you forgot to reset your thermostat before the holidays.
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Dear Legacy,

We’ve had some cold nights lately and some of my friends have already turned on the heating in their homes. Do you have any low-cost suggestions for keeping my house warm in the fall and winter?

I’m starting to feel it in the air, too. Cool nights and discolored leaves mean winter is fast approaching here at the top. We’re all excited to get out in that soft white stuff, but we also want our homes to be warm and cozy when we’re venturing inside—and without breaking the bank.

Fortunately, energy efficiency benefits everyone. High-efficiency homes provide the same or better quality of life, save costs on utility bills, and provide greater indoor comfort and health benefits, all while reducing the impact on the environment. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite low-cost, energy-efficient tricks for keeping my house warm all winter long.

DIY energy efficiency tricks

thermostats: According to the Department of Energy, You can save up to 10% on heating costs each year by returning the thermostat from 7 to 10 degrees for approximately eight hours a day.. Some thermostats can even be adjusted remotely, which is great if you forgot to reset your thermostat before the holidays.

If you do not have a programmable thermostat, Xcel Energy offers models discounted to Client. Not all heating systems are compatible with programmable thermostats. So if you have electric baseboard heating or an old boiler, you may need to consult your preferred electrician or handyman first.

You can also put in more effort by keeping your house a few degrees cooler all the time. Pick a week or two when it starts getting colder and then start lowering the thermostat by one degree each day. When you or someone in your home feels too cool to rest, go back 1 and leave it there. Even a few degrees below the heating setpoint can turn into huge savings when multiplied over the course of the winter. You may surprise yourself how low you are!

LED lights: LED lights these days come in a variety of options to match your preferred style, color temperature and brightness. It’s an easy way to save electricity all year round. LED lights are 90% more efficient and last up to 25 years longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Air Leak Shutdown: Heat leakage through air leaks usually causes the greatest inefficiencies in homes, especially in our climate zone. air seal It is probably the single most effective thing you can do to improve efficiency and comfort in your home. Dam Around windows, doors, and baseboards can go a long way in sealing those leaky spots. Sealing any spacers in the drywall, such as electrical outlets, switches or light fixtures, is a simple project as well. Use caulking for gaps an eighth of an inch wide or less and spray foam for larger areas.

Weather stripping: Before winter is a good time to check all the weather on doors, windows and Replace anything that does not create a tight seal.

Hot water tube and tank cover: Wrap hot water pipes or heating equipment with insulation And the Install the water heater tank housing. These improvements won’t provide amazing results, but they are cheap, easy and will improve the efficiency of these systems by keeping heat where you want it.

Smart Power Chips: Connect appliances, televisions, and other electronics to smart power strips. These devices prevent the small flow of power electronics even when they are turned off, and often have additional features such as voice control.

Heat tape controls: Heat tape uses a ton of energy to run. Just 100 feet of heat tape can cost more than $800 per year in electricity. Add a timer or improved controls to run these costly systems more efficiently.

Heating equipment maintenance: Change the filters on your oven or other air handlers. Register your heating equipment in a regular maintenance program. Boilers can lose up to 1% of efficiency per year if they are not properly maintained.

For other tips to save energy and money, check out Energy Efficiency Tips at Energy Smart in Colorado. Consider this your to-do list to get more control of the energy and comfort of your home before the snow starts to fall.

Taylor Magnus
High Country Conservation / Image Courtesy

Ask Eartha Steward was written by staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing waste and conserving resources. Send questions to

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