What to know about winter energy efficiency
Apply caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks around windows and doors to keep the warm air in and the cold air out. (Photo Credit: Colorado Springs Utilities) VIEW ORIGINAL

(Editor’s note: The following article and courtesy photo were provided by Colorado Springs Utilities, Fort Carson’s utility provider.)

Winter doesn’t have to be cold and scary. Some quick and easy tasks around the house can provide a path to a cozy and safe winter.

 Low cost, no cost tips for a more comfortable and efficient home in the winter:

  • Change the direction of ceiling fans. During colder months ceiling fans should rotate clockwise to pull warm air up and distribute it throughout a living space.
  • Apply caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks around windows and doors to keep the warm air in and the cold air out. (Make sure it’s above 45 degrees to apply caulking.)
  • Open curtains on south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat the home and close them at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.
  • Keep the fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
  • Look for other opportunities throughout the home to help with energy efficiency. While a professional energy audit would provide the most complete picture, a self-assessment can help you pinpoint problems and prioritize efficiency upgrades.
  • Check the furnace filter and regularly change when dirty. A clean filter allows the furnace to run more efficiently.
  • Set the thermostat as low as is comfortable. At night or away from home, set the thermostat back 10-15 degrees – lowering the temperature setting for eight hours can save up to 10 percent on energy costs.

Learn more ways to save at https://www.csu.org/Pages/Efficiency.aspx.

A few reminders to ensure safety:

  • Check carbon monoxide detectors often. These devices should be placed outside sleeping areas and on each floor of a home. Check batteries and expiration dates of the devices. Call 911 and go outside immediately if a carbon monoxide leak is suspected.
  •  Have the furnace or heating system serviced by a qualified technician.
  • Be smart with holiday lighting. Stay away from power lines when using ladders and don’t string lights when they’re plugged in. LED lights are safer and more efficient than incandescent strands. Programmable timers make it easy to be sure lights are turned off overnight.
  • Enjoy preparing the feast but avoid a wastewater backup. Traditional holiday meals come with a side of FOG, also known as fat, oil and grease. Never put food scraps or pour grease down a drain. The FOG can collect in wastewater pipes eventually causing messy and costly cleanups. Reduce FOG in pipes by:
  • Wiping pots, pans and dishes with a paper towel before washing them.
  • Pouring leftover grease into an empty can or container and throw away when it’s hardened.
  • Scraping food scraps into the trash to minimize garbage disposal use.
  • Covering drains with screens or catch baskets.
  • Considering composting food scraps.