Old windows, doors and attics let heat ooze into the neighborhood.
But caulking and insulation aren't the only ways to find savings. There are easy steps you can take to conserve energy. Over time, the efforts add up, officials say.
"Now's a time to look for ways that can reduce your energy use during these chillier months," said Neil Neroutsos, a Snohomish County Public Utility District spokesman. "We're always looking for ways to help customers save on their energy bills."
After November cold snaps and December freezes, some people may not believe that they can do more to save, but they can, Neroutsos said.
"If you look at your energy use, there are some simple things you can do to save that you may not even notice," he said.
Turning the thermostat down just a couple degrees, from 70 to 68, may lead to savings of up to 3 percent on monthly heating costs, research suggests. Turn it down to 55 at night and during the day when the family is away and the savings jump to as much as 10 percent.
That old refrigerator, or the second one in the basement? Get rid of it. Use a newer, energy-efficient model instead, Neroutsos said. That can result in $200 in annual savings.
Switching to compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs, which can last 20 years or longer, is another simple cost saver.
Here are additional energy-saving ideas:
• Make sure weatherization is updated. That means checking insulation, windows, heat pumps and thermostats. PUD may be able to help. They offer some rebates and some loans for energy-saving home improvements. Learn more at www.snopud.com/weatherization.
• Today's appliances are made with energy saving in mind. New clothes washers save electricity and water. Plus, some models are eligible for rebates of up to $100 from the PUD. Check out more at www.snopud.com/appliancerebates.
• Change furnace air filters every two months during the winter.
• Put on a sweater.
• Shut off lights when not in use.
• Set water heaters no higher than 120 degrees. Turn water heaters off if going away for longer than three days. Gas water heaters can be turned down without extinguishing the pilot light.
• Use a cold water rinse when washing clothes.
• Avoid the oven and use a toaster, microwave or electric pans instead.
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