“There are plenty of do-it-yourself options to weatherize your house,” said Chad Piekarz, an energy efficiency expert with NV Energy. “One of the most effective is having a programable thermostat.”
NV Energy recommends that households keep their thermostat at 68 degrees regularly and at 58 degrees in the evening or when out of the home. Your family’s monthly energy bill could increase as much as two percent for each degree above the recommended setting.
Turning on your ceiling fan seems like an unusual idea but they aren’t just used to cool off a warm room during the summertime heat. Fans help move warm air from the ceiling down to the floor. Keep ceiling fans in a low-speed rotation. The fan will push the warm air to the ground as it pulls the cold air up.
NV Energy also recommends not using electric space heaters. They often waste more energy and cost more to run than your home heater. If you must use a space heater, use a low wattage space heater instead of a conventional electric baseboard heater that uses more energy.
Routine winter weather is key in keeping a home or business warm. Change the furnace filters that trap dust particles. Clogged filters don’t work well, as they tend to trap warm air instead of letting it out. Check around door and window ways for air leaks. All frames should be air-tight. If there are leaks, use caulk or weather stripping to seal around the frames. If you’re looking to be thrifty, stuff an old towel or shirt in any noticeable leaks.
Thick, heavy-set curtains also help keep the cold air out, as well as closing the doors to any unused rooms. By closing doors, it helps the cold air from circulating around the house. Another simple idea for keeping your space warm is placing rugs on the hardwood or tile floors — they prevent heat loss through the floor and are generally warm to step on. Candles are a great inexpensive way to keep out the chill, as well as using incandescent light bulbs, that generate as much as 95 percent heat energy.
“We get 270-plus days of sunshine,” said Piekarz. “That’s free heat. Keep your windows open and let the sunshine in.”
Check any electrical outlets as air can seep through the unsealed edges. Proper insulation will also keep your home warm. NV Energy recommends homes in the Truckee Meadows be lined with insulation rated R-38 at 13 inches deep. Heating ducts should be wrapped with R-4 to R-6 rate insulation. If your home has a fireplace, use a chimney balloon to help seal up your chimney when it’s not in use.
NV Energy advises that if your home has an old thermostat, upgrade it with a newer model. Replace a manually-operated thermostat with a programmable one that automatically adjusts.
If you’re confused on any winter heat maintenance, call the professionals. They will help you adjust your furnace, helping reduce your energy consumption. A professional technician should look at your furnace every two years, advises NV Energy.
“The NV Energy website offers customers a tool that shows their daily usage in order to monitor their daily energy consumption,” said Peikarz. “We also offer education about weatherizing your home on the website.”
Nevada offers a low-income weatherization assistance program that helps qualifying Nevada residents reduce their utility bill, providing help installing different conservation measures from adding insulation to weather stripping. Individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income are automatically eligible for this service.
For more information about keeping your home or business warm this winter, visit NV Energy at www.nvenergy.com. For more information about state-funded weatherization programs, visit www.energy.nv.gov or call 687-1850.