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Get Your Home Ready for Winter

"H.E.A.T." efficiently with ENERGY STAR this winter. The steps below will help improve your home's comfort, save energy and save money-while protecting the environment at the same time.

Home Sealing

If you add up all the hidden air leaks in your home, they can equal a hole the size of an open window — and can lead to higher energy bills by allowing heat to escape and causing your system to work harder to keep you comfortable. This makes home sealing one of the first and most important steps you can take to reduce home energy costs year-round. Sealing air leaks and adding insulation-paying special attention to your attic and basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found-will keep warm air inside where it belongs and help your equipment perform more efficiently. Do it yourself or hire a contractor. For more information, get EPA's Guide to Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling PDF (2.6MB) and DIY Guide to ENERGY STAR Home Sealing PDF (2MB).

Equipment maintenance

Dirt and neglect are the number one causes of heating and cooling system failure. Equipment maintenance is one of the most important steps you can take to keep your heating system at peak performance. Schedule a fall check-up of your heating system with a licensed contractor. Also, clean or change your system's air filter once a month to prevent increased energy costs and system failure.

Ask for ENERGY STAR

Look for the ENERGY STAR when purchasing new products for your home. Found on more than 50 types of products from heating and cooling equipment, appliances, electronics, and lighting to windows and new homes, the ENERGY STAR means you are getting the most energy-efficient product that will not only save money on energy bills, but also help protect our environment.

Thermostat use

Use a programmable thermostat to regulate your home's temperature. Programmable thermostats save energy by offering four convenient, pre-programmed temperature settings that scale temperatures back when you are away and scale up when you return. When used properly, a programmable thermostat can save as much as $150 every year in energy costs.

Save more and stay comfortable with the following tips:

  • Use your ceiling fan. Even in the winter your ceiling fan can help improve your comfort. Most fans have a switch which allows you to reverse the motor and operate the ceiling fan at low speed in the clockwise direction. This produces a gentle updraft, which forces warm air near the ceiling down into the occupied space.
  • Change your lights. Replacing five of your home's most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs to ENERGY STAR qualified lighting can save $65 in energy costs each year.
  • Put your computer to sleep. Activate your computer and monitor's power management features to power down when sitting idle. Depending on your usage patterns, computers and monitors that have enabled power management features can save from $25–$75 per year in energy costs.

For more information on improving your home's overall heating and cooling efficiency:

Go to the ENERGY STAR @ home interactive tool (www.energystar.gov/home), which provides energy-efficient home improvement ideas and energy saving tips and advice for your entire home.

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