Contractor offers energy-saving tips

February may be over, but snow is still in the forecast! It’s not too late for area homeowners who are hoping to reduce their energy bills and maximize their indoor heat to take action.

“February temperatures may have hinted at spring weather, but responsible homeowners should recognize that winter is still in full swing,” said Contractor Magazine’s Contractor of the Year winner Ted Puzio, owner of Roanoke-based Southern Trust Home Services. “Thankfully, there are many easy steps homeowners can take to save energy through the rest of winter.”

Puzio and the Southern Trust team offer the following five tips for saving energy in winter:

1. Install a programmable thermostat. By setting lower temperatures when they are asleep or out of the house, homeowners can save money on heating.

2. Replace filters. The filters on heating units will tend to get dirty faster in winter months due to the prolonged periods of closed windows and time spent indoors. Remember to periodically check filters and replace them if dirty.

3. Check weather stripping and door thresholds. Over time, weather stripping can become brittle and begin to crack or break, resulting in warm air leaking out of the home and cold air leaking into the home, causing the furnace to work harder to maintain desired temperatures. Likewise, thresholds underneath doors can fall in height or move out of alignment. Taking the time to readjust them can help further seal the home and retain energy.

4. Get free extra heat from the sun. Whenever possible, leave curtains or blinds open on south-facing windows during the day. Warmth and energy coming in from the sun will help heat the home and maintain a steady temperature. Window coverings can be closed in the evening to help trap the warmth inside.

5. Use ceiling fans to your advantage. During the winter, make sure your ceiling fans are set to a clockwise rotation to push warm air down. Running on a low setting will help trap warm air in the room for extra comfort and efficiency.

“Homeowners often think about major changes and replacements when the issue of a high energy bill comes up,” Puzio said. “The good news is that not everyone has to invest in new furnaces and water heaters to reduce their energy bills. There are so many little steps homeowners can take to start saving surprising amounts of money, especially in winter.”

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