How to keep your energy costs down this winter

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – As overnight temperatures begin to dip into the 20s this week, it’s a good time to think about preparing your home for the cold months ahead.

With help from the Energy Trust of Oregon, a nonprofit that helps people cut energy usage and save money, we were able to put together some tips that include simple steps that can add up to real savings.

First, cover any bare floors in your home with rugs – it adds comfort and helps retain heat.

Then, purchase and use caulking on any holes and cracks around your home to seal air leaks. When it comes to doors and windows, weather strips will be handy, too – keeping cold air out and warm air in.

“You want to make sure to follow the frame and right along the edge there,” said Energy Trust of Oregon spokesperson Katie Wallace while giving a demo. “I can actually feel a little bit of draft, so this one would benefit from some thin application of weather stripping to make sure you don’t feel that cold air coming in from the outside.”

In addition, Wallace says to vacuum vents regularly and avoid blocking them in with any furniture.

Next, consider turning on your ceiling fans – but ensure they’re set to spin clockwise during winter months.

“It’s a really easy way to move warm air through your house if you have a ceiling fan,” Wallace said. “So, if you turn it on to a low setting you can help keep moving that warm air throughout the house – and help you feel a little bit more comfortable.”

Also, if you have windows facing the sun during the day, Wallace says to open coverings and blinds while the sun is shining.

“We don’t have a lot of daylight hours in the winter, but you are going to get some natural warming from that sunlight – so you can take advantage of some heat,” Wallace said.

Thermostat settings can lead to some of the most expensive costs, says Wallace, who recommends a temperature between 65 and 68 during the day.

“And at night, when people are sleeping, or if you’re gone – we recommend setting it down a little bit lower to 60 to 62 degrees,” Wallace said. “This is going to give you some good energy savings and you’re not paying to heat the home when no one is here to enjoy it.”

Lastly, clean and replace air filters for furnaces and heat pumps to make sure they are not working harder than they should – and to keep air in your home clean.

For more tips on how to save on energy costs, visit the Energy Trust of Oregon’s website.

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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