How to keep your home energy efficient during the winter

Douglass Park

By LAURA KEBEDE

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

Winter officially starts Dec. 21, but the effects of the cold weather could already be multiplying your utility or gas bills. Columbia Water and Light offers several resources and tips to help you keep your home warm during the winter.

Quick fixes:

  • Keep your thermostat at 68 degrees when home and 60 degrees when you’re away from home for a few days. This does not apply to heat pumps.
  • Open window shades where sunlight can shine in during the day and close them at night.
  • Close fireplace damper when it’s not in use.
  • Do not block radiators and vents with furniture, curtains or rugs.
  • Install a door sweep if outside air is seeping in under the door (usually found for $10 for 2)

Semi-quick fixes:

  • Replace the heat system filter every three months or when dirty (90-day filters cost around $2).*
  • Install foam gaskets for light switches by exterior walls (less than $2 for a pack of 12).
  • Caulk exterior window and door frames.
  • Seal holes in the basement, especially where pipes enter

* Note from Adam McQuiston, assistant department manager at Home Depot: “I don’t recommend fiberglass filters. They only last for 30 days and do not catch a lot of allergens or dust.”

If you’re not sure where to begin, Columbia Water and Light offers free energy efficient evaluations for homes and businesses. For more tips, check out the Renter’s Guide for energy efficient lifestyles throughout the year.

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