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Ask the Expert: Remodeling Tips for the Season


Old Man Winter has returned to us once more, and with gas prices reaching the highest prices ever for the Christmas Holiday Season at over $3 per gallon*, we thought we’d pass on some of the more helpful tips from the Department of Energy’s own website.

Shut off the screen: There is a common misconception that screen savers reduce energy use by monitors; they do not. Automatic switching to sleep mode or manually turning monitors off is always the better energy-saving strategy.

Don’t forget the dryer: Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material, not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.

Drain Your Water Tank: Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. The type of water tank you have determines the steps to take, so follow the manufacturer’s advice.

Maintain Your Water Heater: Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss. Some new water heaters have built-in heat traps. Insulate your hot water pipes, which will reduce heat loss and can raise water temperature 2ºF-4ºF hotter than un-insulated pipes. This allows for a lower water temperature setting. Lowering the thermostat on your water heater by 10ºF can save you between 3%-5% in energy costs. Most households only require a water heater thermostat setting of 120ºF, or even 115ºF.

Keep Cold Out and Heat In: During the heating season, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

Put on a sweater: Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable when home. By resetting your programmable thermostat from
72º to 65º for eight hours a day (for instance, while no one is home or while everyone is tucked in bed) you can cut your heating bill
by up to 10 percent.

Weatherize your home: Caulk and weatherstrip any doors and windows that leak air.

This information was found on the Department of Energy’s website. For even more ideas, visitwww.energy.gov.

* The highest gasoline prices in US history still are the $4 a gallon prices in the summer of 2008, but prices fell below $3 by Christmas that year.

We decided to check back on the 24 Mo. Average Retail Price Chart. Average gas prices continue to fluctuate, but stayed somewhere between the high $2 to less than $4 per gallon.  We hope the above tips from the Department of Energy’s are helpful in conserving energy costs despite the continued high gasoline prices.

Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous 2012!

2011-2012 gas prices(1)