Here’s your game plan to block winter’s chill

Use these 10 strategies now to keep energy costs in check.

Chilly, damp, dark winter conditions can sometimes trigger higher energy bills. Your lights are on longer, and the colder it gets, the harder your heat has to work just to maintain your temperature setting. Here are 10 free or inexpensive things you can do right now to save money and energy:

  1. For savings, keep your heat at 68 degrees or below (60 at bedtime or when you’re away). Get a smart thermostat to make saving automatic!
  2. If you have baseboard heaters or another type of zonal heat, turn the heat down or off in unused rooms (but watch for mold).
  3. Close window coverings to form a barrier that keeps cold air out and warm air in. If you can, install snug-fitting, insulated drapes or honeycomb blinds for extra energy savings.
  4. Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees. If you rent, ask your landlord to help you.
  5. Switch to super-efficient LED light bulbs. You might be eligible to get some for free in an Energy Saver Kit from Energy Trust of Oregon.
  6. Close your fireplace damper unless a fire is burning.
  7. Cover your home’s foundation vents.
  8. Caulk and weatherstrip around leaky window frames and doors to seal air leaks.*
  9. Use expanding spray foam to seal around plumbing pipes where they penetrate walls.*
  10. Check and clean or replace your furnace filters every couple of months.

Learn more seasonal strategies to help with your bill.

*If you rent, check with your landlord first.