General Information - Energy
No-Cost and Low-Cost Tips to Save Energy This Winter
Here you'll find strategies to help you save energy during the cold winter months. Some
of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others
are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings through the
If you haven't already, conduct an energy audit to find out where you can save the most,
and consider making a larger investment for long-term energy savings.
Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun
- Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to
naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel
from cold windows.
Cover Drafty Windows
- Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the
inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the
plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
- Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after
- Find out about other window treatments and coverings that can improve
Adjust the Temperature
- When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
- When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10°-15° for
eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A
programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
- Find out how to operate your thermostat for maximum energy savings.
- Also see ENERGY STAR's June 5, 2008, podcast for video instructions
on operating your programmable thermostat.
Find and Seal Leaks
- Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"),
gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished
spaces behind cupboards and closets.
- Find out how to detect air leaks.
- Learn more about air sealing in new and existing homes.
- Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
- Find how to select and apply the appropriate caulk.
- Learn how to select and apply weatherstripping.
Maintain Your Heating Systems
- Schedule service for your heating system.
- Find out what maintenance is required to keep your heating system
- Furnaces: Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed.
- Find out more about maintaining your furnace or boiler.
- Wood and Pellet Burning Heaters: Clean the flue vent regularly and clean the
inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is
- Find other maintenance recommendations for wood- and pellet-burning
Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace
- Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. Keeping the damper
open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to
go right up the chimney.
- When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of
the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly - approximately 1
inch - and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to
between 50° and 55°F.
- If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
- If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange
system that blows warmed air back into the room.
- Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
- Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the
fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
- Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.
- Find out more techniques to improve your fireplace or wood-burning
- Learn tips for safe and efficient fireplace installation and wood burning.
Lower Your Water Heating Costs
Water heating can account for 14%-25% of the energy consumed in your home.
- Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F).
You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands.
- Find other strategies for energy-efficient water heating.
Sources: U.S. Department of Energy
What's a comfortable temperature for your home?
According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, 11-17-08, standards for household
comfort in the 1920s were about 64 degrees. By 1986, the standard had risen to 76
degrees. Try experimenting with 65 during the day and less at night. A good wool
sweater is worth 3.6 degrees.
Visit www.energysavers.gov to learn additional ways to conserve energy and save money.
Also, visit PECO Energy's website to learn more energy saving tips. PECO's website
has some online calculators you can use to determine how much money you can save by
using energy efficient appliances, changing your light bulbs, adjusting your thermostat,
using alternative heating sources, etc. PECO's energy saving website is
Compact Florescent Light Bulbs
Switching from traditional light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) is an
easy change everyone can make now to reduce energy use and prevent greenhouse gas
emissions that contribute to global climate change. ENERGY STAR-qualified CFLs use
up to 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs, last up to 10 times longer, cost
little up front, and provide a quick return on investment. Although it is true that the CFLs
contain a small amount of mercury waste when the CFLs are spent, the overall
reduction of mercury-containing waste in our environment from the use of CFLs is
significant and a benefit to the environment.
Pump Money into Your Wallet
o learn how you can increase gas efficiency, save money, and help the environment,
visit the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Energy website
www.depweb.state.pa.us Click on Energy Topics