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Tips to make your home more energy efficient before the leaves fall

As fall settles in and cooler temperatures creep closer, Lake Mills Light & Water is offering several suggestions to help homeowners prepare for the colder months ahead and save on utility expenses.

One of the best ways to begin saving energy is to insulate and air-seal the home. Air sealing helps block air leaks and drafts. Because homes lose a significant amount of heat through the roof in cooler months, the attic is a great place to achieve considerable energy savings.

A solid insulation barrier in the attic slows the movement of air and helps keep heat where it belongs – inside in the winter and outside in the summer. These measures are worth taking at the same time, because they work together to help improve a home’s efficiency and maintain uniform indoor temperatures all year long.

Weatherstripping is another part of a whole-house system approach to saving energy. Sealing and weatherstripping windows and doors ensures energy is not wasted on heat that escapes through leaks to the outdoors. Air commonly escapes through the walls, ceilings, ducts, fireplace, plumbing penetrations, doors, windows, fans, vents and electrical outlets. Even the most efficient equipment won’t save energy if it is installed in a house with air leaks.

Homeowners can also save energy by paying closer attention to the home’s heating needs. To start, homeowners should avoid heating areas that are not insulated, like the garage, attic or storage shed and avoid closing off unused rooms. A closed-off room makes the heating or cooling unit work harder to condition the air before it is distributed in the home and lowers the unit’s efficiency, placing additional stress on the equipment.

Another simple way to save on the home’s heating costs is to change the direction of ceiling fan blades (clockwise) and operate the fan at low speed. In reverse, the blades create a subtle updraft, which pushes the warm air that naturally rises to the ceiling back down into the room, making it feel warmer. As a result, homeowners can be comfortable enough to get by with a lower thermostat setting when the weather is colder. Remember, to turn off the ceiling fan to save energy when the room is unoccupied.

Local residents can identify additional ways to save by visiting the HomeEnergySuite. The site helps users take a closer look at their home energy consumption and review scenarios that will help them save.