4 Things to Do Now to Save Money and Energy This Winter

Now is a great time to prepare your home to be more comfortable for the coming winter and to save money on utilities. Here are four things to do now.

1. Lock in natural gas rate

Lock into a fixed rate with your natural gas provider. It is a little bit of a chore to compare costs per therm and the monthly fees, but with a little effort and perhaps a phone call or two you can save yourself money over the year. My husband, John, does the research each year and over the years we have saved quite a bit of money.

Georgia Gas Savings says the shoulder seasons in the fall and spring may be good times to lock in a rate as prices are more moderate. That means twice a year, there’s less demand for cooling or heating, consequently, prices for both electricity and natural gas tend to dip for a period of about a little over a month from: mid-March into mid to early-May & mid-September into mid-November.

The Georgia Public Service Commission has a page dedicated to help consumers find more about natural gas rates and suppliers. Click here.

And look at Natural Gas Plans here for the best rates as well as helpful information on generators and fall maintenance tips for homeowners. Some gas marketers offer senior discounts for customers age 65+, but there are conditions, such as income, that some seniors must meet.

2. Contact your electric utility company for help with an energy audit and rebates for installing energy saving materials

Contact your electric utility company to find out if they are offering rebates for energy saving measures you can add to your home. For example, Georgia Power offers a Home Energy Improvement Program to help qualifying customers reduce energy bills and increase home comfort. They offer rebates for duct sealing, attic insulation and Smart Thermosatas and other items. They will pick up a working refrigerator, recycle it and give you a $35 rebate. Under this program the pick up is free. Some offers and rebates expire by the end of the year.  Read carefully. Go here for more information.

Cobb EMC offers on-line and on-site energy audits for its members. Go here for more energy savings tips, lists of approved contractors.

Adding insulation, caulking ,weather stripping and sealing ductwork can add comfort

3. Inspect and service the furnace now and replace filters as needed

Your air filter is the access point for your HVAC system’s air flow, and the place that filters your home from allergens and dirt particles. If you don’t replace your air filter, it clogs up from excess dust. This reduces airflow, or increases resistance, which puts strain on your heating and cooling system.  Generally, replace about every 3 months. The thickness of your filter, pets, heating daily, and other factors may require you to change the filter more often. Call your heating and air company and have your furnace serviced for fall. In general, regularly serviced HVAC systems don’t need to be repaired as often as those that are not maintained properly. The reason for this is that servicing gives technicians the chance to identify and resolve issues before they lead to a more problematic breakdown.

Programmable thermostats saves money and adds to comfort

4. Manage your thermostat

Set your thermostat to 78F in the summer and 68F in the winter – every degree of extra heating or cooling will increase energy usage 6% to 8%. Consider a programmable wifi enabled thermostat. The NEST is a great option for busy families who are gone for long periods of the day. The great thing about the wifi enabled thermostats is that you can adjust the temperature on your way home or on the way back from vacation.

Just by doing a few of these measures, you will save on your utility bills. If you can find out where you are losing heat and energy, you will not only reduce your energy bill, you will make your home more comfortable.

Happy Fall and wishing you a warm and cozy winter!

Lee Ann is a member of Women’s Council of Realtors – Cobb and Cobb Association of Realtors. She is a top producer with Dorsey Alston Realtors specializing in the East Cobb market.

Lee Ann Wynns | East Cobb Realtor® 

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