While it may seem to many Virginians like the breezes were warm only a short while ago, reality has begun to set in as the winter cold has arrived in full force! For good reason, many people tend to crank up their thermostats when the cold hits to ensure their home stays warm. While this might make your home more comfortable, it requires a lot of energy. And that additional energy use can cause your electricity bill to skyrocket. No need to worry though, because Virginia Energy Sense has many ways you can prevent excessive energy use during the cold months. Below are several steps we recommend to help prepare your home for the winter: Winter Energy Saving Tips

Identify air leaks – Use weatherstripping around doors and windows. Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors and ceilings.  Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls.  Check for open fireplace dampers and make sure they are properly closed.

Insulate your home – By insulating to your basement and attic, you’ll prevent heat from escaping and reduce the energy required to maintain a steady temperature throughout the home.

Change your filters – Maintain your HVAC system by replacing dirty air filters in your furnace. A clogged filter will cause your system to work harder and expend more energy.

Don’t block the heat – Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, ad radiators. Make sure they are not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.

Utilize the sun – Open curtains and blinds on your west and south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. Close those curtains at night to retain heat.

Smart thermostat use – You can save energy and keep your costs in check by keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit while you are at home. When you go to work and no one is home, lower the temperature three degrees.  Better yet, invest in a smart thermostat to control temperature settings for you

Turn on your fans – Since hot air rises, run your ceiling fans in reverse to circulate it back to floor level.

Use power strips – Plug in multiple devices, like your TV and tablet, to a power strip to easily turn off all devices when not in use.

Swap in LEDs – If you use traditional incandescent lightbulbs, you may want to reconsider. Switch them out for LEDs that will use less energy and last several times longer!

Prepping your home for the cold winter ahead will not only save you energy and money, it will also help Virginia reach its goal of reducing its electric energy consumption by 10 percent below 2006 levels by 2022. Check the Virginia Energy Sense website for more suggestions on how to weatherize your home during the winter and throughout the rest of the year.  

Lesson Plans
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Get your students energized about responsible energy use! In partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, we’ve created fun, multi-day, Lesson plans to help you teach your students how to understand and conserve energy! They’re classroom-ready and free to use!