• 10 Ways to Save $$ on Energy Bills

        With temperatures hoovering in the 30’s & 40’s during the day and dropping into the chilling teens at night, many people find themselves with heating bills hundreds of dollars higher than in previous months. After all, about 46% of all utility bill costs in a home go to heating and cooling. There are many contributing factors to heating and cooling costs and the office of Ask Gina & Co. would like to share some energy saving tips with you…

        1. Clean or replace furnace filters once a month or as needed. A clogged air filter allows less air flow making the furnace expend more energy to warm or cool a home.
        2. Buy a quality, programmable thermostat and set the temperature to the lowest possible comfortable temperature during the winter and the highest in the summer. If you already have a programmable thermostat, set the temperature lower during the winter months and put a thicker blanket on the bed. For the summer months, turn the temperature up during the day while you are at work and the sun is the strongest in the day.
        3. Check that all your windows are locked and completely closed. If a window or door feels very drafty, consider installing weatherstripping or wrapping the window with saran wrap to help hold in heat.
        4. Open shades on windows that face south during the day to let the sunlight naturally heat your home. During the night hours, close curtains and drapes to help shield off drafty windows.
        5. If there are rooms in your home that you do not frequently use or enter, close air vents and close the doors to these rooms. This will transfer the heat to other rooms of the home that are more frequently used.
        6. Save money (and most likely calories too) by eating out less and preparing more home-cooked meals that require the use of an oven. After using the oven, prop the door slightly open to allow the excess heat to escape. Make sure you make others aware that you are doing this so they do not burn themselves accidentally. (Not suggested for homes were small children can easily reach or touch the hot surfaces on the oven).
        7. Have an infrared home inspection done on your home to help point out any problem spots. This is especially recommended for older homes where there may be multiple problems spots where the home is allowing for a substantial amount of heat to escape or enter.

        Long-term:

        1. Whenever replacing any electronic or heating/cooling unit, always try to select an energy-efficient unit. It may cost you a bit more in the beginning but it will start to pay off when you notice a reduction in your energy bills.
        2. The air duct system is one of the most important systems to the heating and cooling unit of your home. If you are considering a remodel and thinking about replacing the air duct system, look into a pre-insulated duct which will help keep in the maximum about of heat and cool air. Make sure your ducts are fully sealed to keep air from escaping into unwanted areas such as between walls and floors.
        3. Install insulated, energy efficient windows. The up front cost of replacing windows in a home is usually a substantial amount, so consult a certified professional before doing so.

        *If you are unfamiliar with how to do some of these tasks, consult a qualified professional.