As the cold weather of the winter season blows across Pennsylvania, you may be reminded of that drafty window or leaky door you’ve been meaning to fix.
If your 2016 resolution is to make your home more comfortable, whether you want to have a comprehensive energy audit completed or simply seal up some air leaks, there are plenty of resources available to help.
First things first, please don’t think the only option is to replace your windows. This is always the No. 1 project that people think they have to invest in to make their home more comfortable. The reality is, there are many low-cost opportunities to begin sealing out air and keeping your house cozy, until you’re ready for such a big investment.
An energy audit can be a great first step to assessing how your home uses energy. Because all parts of your home work as a system, an energy audit helps to identify the greatest opportunities for comprehensive improvements. The Public Utility Commission (PUC) has created a quick video showing what an energy auditor will look for and why.
Perhaps you’re not ready to invest in a full audit. No problem!
Simple, low-cost options include things like installing weather stripping to seal air leaks, wrapping hot water pipes and/or hot water heaters, installing door sweeps on leaky doors, caulking around windows, and installing insulation between joists in unfinished basements. The Department of Energy has a nice DIY series with advice. Or, a tip from my own experience: when in doubt, watch a YouTube video!
Ready to start a bigger project? Find a contractor through the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance’s directory. Financing is available for most income levels through the Keystone HELP program.
The state’s largest electricity distribution companies all offer electricity savings programs that may include free or low-cost energy audits, and rebates for energy savings appliances and retrofits. These include Duquesne Light Watt Choices, PECO’s Smart Ideas program, the First Energy’s www.energysavepa.com, which is available to customers of Met Ed, Penelec, Penn Power, and West Penn Power, and PPL’s Save Energy and Money.
Several regional non-profits in the state provide energy efficiency information, workshops, and even contracted services. Two of the largest are CCI in Western Pennsylvania and the Energy Coordinating Agency in the eastern part of the state.
Stay warm this winter!