It's time to change your green thinking to conserve energy now that fall and winter have arrived in Berks County. Fall and winter mean focusing on home energy-saving tips that will help you save more energy.

Here are some tips for living green during the cold months. You'll reduce your carbon footprint and save on energy costs. Utilizing energy-efficient appliances and gadgets, tackling some home improvement projects, and staying smart with heating your house are some of the key points.

Take a look at our energy-saving tips for fall and winter.

1. Do home repairs

With the weather cooling down and pests not as bothersome, now is the perfect time to do home maintenance. Some small changes to your home can reduce your energy bills and help the environment.

  • Upgrade your windows from single to double pane (watch for ENERGY STAR options to increase your savings). If that’s out of your budget, remember to utilize coverings like blinds, drapes, solar film or shades.
  • Check insulation thickness, and add more, if necessary.
  • Weatherize your home using caulk or weather stripping. Seal air leaks around letter drops, vents, door frames and windows. And don’t forget the attic. There are often small openings that are overlooked.
  • Upgrade your appliances to the most energy-efficient options. Watch for ENERGY STAR labels and ensure the size matches your needs.

2. Tweak appliance use

Summer heat put a lot of strain on your appliances, so give them a break. Adjust your appliance usage to conserve energy and therefore save on your electric bill.

  • Turn your refrigerator down a few degrees. If yours has an energy-saving setting, switch it on.
  • Reduce the temperature to 120° (not any higher) on your water heater, and wrap an insulating blanket around it.
  • Be sure your household washing is in warm or cold water.

3. Utilize gadgets

Modern technology doesn't require you to do much thinking or planning. With the help of smart gadgets, you can lower your home's energy costs.

  • Use LEDs for lighting needs. They use less electricity and last longer.
  • Smart power strips shut the power off to electronics when not in use. You can create a master setting for them, too.
  • Programmable thermostats can be set to heat during specific times of the day. You can customize heating schedules that fit your routine.
  • Motion sensors and timers for outside lighting can minimize unnecessary use.
  • Use solar lighting for your lawn and garden.

4. Control heating

It is imperative to keep warm during the upcoming winter months in Berks County. Do you know that your heating bills can account for half of your energy costs? Make sure you run your heater efficiently when it's time to warm your home.

  • Complete seasonal maintenance on your heating system.
  • Give your home time to warm once the heater is turned on. Bursts of increased temperatures won’t make it warm any faster.
  • Be sure dirty air filters aren’t making your system work harder; replace as needed.
  • Reverse your ceiling fan. Position the blade direction clockwise to push warm air down from the ceiling to the floor.
  • Keep from blocking vents and registers so heat has a clear path to the room.
  • Use the sun to your advantage by opening curtains and blinds during the day (especially on the south side of your house). Close them at night to reduce drafts.

If you follow these tips, you’re sure to save money and energy during the cold months in Berks County.

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