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With the extreme cold we’ve been facing in Denver the last few winters and the high heating bills, it might make sense to have an energy audit performed, if your home is more than a few years old. During an energy audit, a certified auditor will test the furnace and hot water heater, perform a blower door test to see how leaky your home is, check your weatherstripping for drafts and more. 

Below is a link to the Xcel Energy website where you can find a list of companies that offer energy saving assistance to homeowners and renters. Many of them offer kits, assessments, audits. Other options offered are bill credits, or different pricing structures to help customers save even more!

Click Here: https://co.my.xcelenergy.com/s/residential/home-services/home-energy-audit

If you are just looking for ways to cut energy costs without much hassle, this short list below includes ways to keep bills at bay during the fall and winter months.

What you can do on your own

  • Utilize the natural light more. Open the blinds on south-facing windows and let the sunlight in. It will warm the house and provide light in rooms during the day. Then close them at night to reduce the cold.
  • Insulate or Cover Windows. Heavy duty drapery can help with keeping cold air out of your house. Using insulation kits found at local hardware stores are a very inexpensive way to keep cold air outside and warm air in. Sometimes caulk is needed to seal up leaky windows and can be done quickly and inexpensively.
  • Use your thermostat throughout the day. During the hours that you are awake and home, keep the temperature as low as you can handle. While sleeping or gone, drop the temp a good 10 degrees lower than you have it while awake (but during really cold winter days don’t drop it below 68 degrees as you don’t want your pipes to freeze). Consistently keeping it cooler for 8-10 hours a day can save 10% a year on energy bills. Tip: programmable thermostats can help you change temps consistently and can be set to start warming up as people arrive home from work or school or wake up in the morning.
  • Seal air leaks. Similar to sealing up the windows, check gaps around chimneys (if you do not use the fireplace, plug and seal the flue), check where the gas line comes in for the stove, around recessed lighting, and outlets – anywhere that leads to outside. These cracks or holes allow warm air to escape and the cold air to come in. Local hardware stores have weatherstripping for doors and caulk for the DIYer or call a handyman to come fix the leaks for you.
  • Routine maintenance. Keep up with yearly or seasonal checkups on the furnace or heat pump, change filters, cleane the fireplace, etc.. Overworking the systems because of a dirty filter or clogged pipe will lead to trouble and higher energy costs.
  • Regulate the water heater. Lower the temperature to 120 degrees, which helps prevent burns and keeps costs down.
  • Strategically choose Holiday lights or decorative features outside. Make the switch to LED bulbs for Holiday lights and outdoor fixtures. Keep outside lights on timers so they shut off when it is daylight instead of later in the morning. Try to choose bulbs or light strands with ENERGY STAR® ratings or find outdoor lighting with solar charging options. 

Other ways to save:

Windows and Doors

Use insulating window treatments to slow down heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.

Install storm windows. They’re a great insulator and help seal openings that create drafts.

When buying new windows, here are a few things to consider:

Multiple panes are best. Double-pane, triple-pane, and even quadra-pane windows are available.

Use gas fillings to fill the space between panes. It’s like invisible insulation because it’s clear and doesn’t conduct heat as quickly as air.

Get special coatings that reflect infrared heat back into your home, preventing it from escaping via the window.

New exterior doors with insulation will keep energy in. Wood doors with foam filling work best.

Insulation and Air Leaks

Invest in high-quality insulation to help keep cool or warm air inside our home. Placing high R-value insulation in the cavities of your home slows the flow of heat through walls, floors, and ceilings.

Get a home x-ray. Thermal imaging of your exterior can reveal leaks and locations of poor insulation.

Have a qualified contractor seal air leaks with fire-resistant materials. Foam sealant works best on larger gaps and windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak.

Here are some more leak-sealing hacks

Seal air leaks where plumbing or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.

Find and seal drafts around doors and windows, fireplace dampers, and other places where air might escape.

Pure silicone works well for caulking seams in ducts and areas exposed to high temperatures.

Installing foam gaskets behind electric outlets and switch plates on walls will seal leaks.

Bonus Tips

Your attic works like a hat for your home, helping it keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. A qualified contractor can help ensure your attic has proper venting and vapor barriers.

Look into using solar panels for generating electricity or hot water if you live in a sunny area. If rooftop solar isn’t right for you, explore the other renewable options available for you.

Have you heard of green roofs? They provide great insulation, help soak up rain and are environmentally friendly.

A ground source heat pump can deliver heating efficiencies 50% to 70% higher than many conventional heating systems and can provide cooling efficiencies 20% to 40% higher than available air conditioners.

Most utility companies offer ways to save on bills and emissions. Simply search their website if you do not see your company listed above. A little bit of conservation will help not only your wallet but the environment, too! 

If you have more questions feel free to reach out to us via email at kevin.capra@compass.com or call/text 303.809.5515

Your Colorado Real Estate Expert