This is the time of year that bitter temperatures outside can cause sky-high utility bills inside. Weatherization is the process of making your home more impervious to cold temperatures, wind, and winter weather. The Energy Resource Center has been providing weatherization services to Coloradans since 1979, and offers free energy audits for income-qualified residents, saving them considerable cash on their utility bills over the course of several winters.
Weatherization can be as simple as choosing curtains and window coverings to prevent heat loss and allow sunlight in. It can also involve more complex solutions such as replacing an old and inefficient furnace with a newer, 80% efficiency furnace. Signing up for an ERC energy audit from a professional auditor can help you with your weatherization. With upgrades like insulation, air sealing, and a new furnace, ERC often cuts utility bills by 20% or more, creating a huge difference for families trying to live within a budget.
While you are waiting for your appointment with the ERC, there are some easy things that you can do around your house to weatherize.
- Choose curtains that keep hot air from escaping and cold air from seeping in.
- Think about window film that will also keep cold air from getting in.
- Check caulking around windows and doors.
- Think about precut foam inserts that go behind electrical outlets to lessen air escape.
- Consider installing a programmable thermostat, which can save you as much as 10% on your utility bills.
- Lower your temperatures to between 55 and 58 degrees at night or when you are away for an extended period of time.
- Keep your temperature during the day as close to 60 degrees as you can. Every degree makes a difference with your utility bills, and you want your home to be safe without breaking the bank.
- Make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Winter can pose a higher risk for fire and carbon monoxide detectors, so keep yours in working order.
- Transition to using power strips for small lamps and electrical appliances. Then you can turn the power strips off easily when not in use.
- Replace traditional light bulbs with Energy Star CFL bulbs. They pay for themselves quite quickly, and last many times longer than traditional bulbs.
- Replace furnace filters on a regular basis. A clean furnace runs more efficiently, heating your house better and keeping costs down.
Weatherization can change your family’s life for the better, by making your home warm and safe while saving substantial amounts of money. Even if you exceed the income qualifications for a free audit, you can still receive a professional audit from ERC. The fee you pay for a professional consultation will directly support helping other families receive services from the ERC. Look into a professional audit to weatherize your home or business, while also performing small weatherization upgrades on your own to keep your family safe and warm!