Saturday, December 3, 2022
Dec. 3, 2022

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Energy Adviser: Give home, business head start for winter


With summer easing into fall and winter not far behind, Clark County residents are just a few weeks away from firing up their home heating systems.

A typical household spends half of its annual utilities budget on heating and cooling. Homes built before 1990 may cost even more to heat and cool because they’re typically less insulated and less sealed than newer homes.

As the mercury drops, the thermostat and our home energy consumption and utility bills start to rise. But some preparation and planning can help your home or business limit energy waste and reduce home heating bills in the cold months ahead.

Take advantage of the mild temperatures over the next few weeks and give your home a head start for winter.

To start, consider contacting a heating and cooling professional to inspect and service your system. Those professionals can ensure your furnace, heat pump or ductless heat pump run their most efficiently all season long. Scheduling service now, while the weather is warm, can help you avoid being without heat if your system has to be down for a significant repair.

If you rent your home, ask your landlord to schedule an inspection.

“Your heating system might have worked fine at the end of last winter, but problems can creep up sometimes,” said Energy Service Supervisor DuWayne Dunham. “That’s why an early inspection is so important. You don’t want to go to use it on that first cold day of the season, only to realize something’s wrong.”

Zonal heaters, like baseboard heaters or wall heaters, don’t require service unless they’ve quit working. But they will benefit from a good cleaning because dust buildup can cause them to operate less efficiently. Once they’re clean, test them out to make sure they, and the thermostat that controls them, are working properly.

If your heating system is compatible, consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. They’re easy to install and use. Plus, once they learn your schedule and personal preferences, they automatically operate as efficiently as possible, which saves you money all year long.

With that system running in peak form, you can move on to other smaller changes you can make around your home to help make the most of every future heating dollar.

Inspect and if needed, replace the weather stripping, sweeps, and thresholds on exterior doors.

Next, inspect the exterior of your home for gaps or broken caulk around windows, hoses, cables, or anything else that goes into the walls. Use exterior caulk to seal any gaps or replace old caulk that is cracked or peeling.

Even the best windows are poor insulators. Hanging thick drapes will help limit the heat they lose this winter.

Small behavioral changes can add up to great savings all year. One of the best ways to keep energy bills down in winter is setting the thermostat a couple degrees lower than usual. Blankets and sweaters are great ways to stay warm while keeping energy costs low.

To find out more about quick and easy ways to save energy, or to learn about the utility’s many rebates, incentives and loans for energy conservation, visit our website or call or email the Energy Counselor of the Day at the contact information below.

Energy Adviser is produced by Clark Public Utilities and relies on the expertise of utility energy counselors and staff, who provide conservation and energy use information. To contact us call 360-992-3355, email or visit