- Keep the thermostat as low as is comfortable in winter— Energy.gov recommends 68°F to boost energy efficiency.
- Caulk around all pipes where they enter the home. Check dryer vents, electrical wiring, water meters, and places where heat might leak out and cold air can get in.
- Make sure crawl space openings are closed. This will reduce the amount of cold air getting under your home. This protects exposed pipes and eliminates a significant source of heat loss.
- Lighting is important on our shorter, often gray days. If you still use incandescent bulbs, making the change to Energy Star-quality lights (CFL or LED) can reduce your lighting energy use by as much as 75%, which translates to savings on your electric bill too.
Power Outage Checklist
Most power outages only last a short time. In the event of an extended outage, safety may be of concern. Whatever the duration, it is recommended to prepare and have the right items on hand.
- Flashlights, extra batteries, candles, and matches
- Battery-powered radios and clocks
- Corded telephone that can be plugged directly into the wall outlet (cordless/wireless phones require power)
- Canned, dehydrated, or freeze-dried food, a manual can opener, and plenty of drinking water
- First Aid kit
Additional steps to consider: Use uninterruptable or a backup power supply for medical equipment and computers; stock adequate fuel for fireplace or wood stove; have a standby generator; know how to operate your garage door manually; have a plan for medications that require refrigeration; keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible; and have an alternate charging system for cell phones.